Run down part of town centre 'to be up-and-coming area' soon

Existing planned developments in Fleet Street and Bridge Street are expected to help lift the run-down area
Existing planned developments in Fleet Street and Bridge Street are expected to help lift the run-down area

The run-down area of the town centre around Fleet Street and Bridge Street could become “the up-and-coming area” of the town if existing regeneration schemes and several proposed developments come to fruition.

That’s what members of Swindon Borough Council’s Growing the Economy Overview & Scrutiny Committee will hear when they receive a report on regeneration efforts in the town centre next week.

The report says:” The council’s approach for enhancing the Town Centre is based on the creation of a development strategy that delivers a diversified land use pattern, and that enhances connectivity into and within the Centre; a programme of major capital projects that are delivered in a timely manner, and that are of high quality, to provide a catalyst for large scale, private sector investment;  and activities to enhance the day-to-day look and feel of the Centre to make the heart of Swindon a safe and welcoming place for all.”

The report divides the town centre into nine distinct sectors: The Office District, Station Gateway,  Kimmerfields, Regent Circus / Town Hall Area, Fleet Street / Faringdon Road / Bridge Street Area,  Princess Street Area, the Retail Core Area, the Railway Heritage Area,  and North Star.

According to the report the council’s officers are working with organisations such as InSwindon and Business West, and landowners and organisations in these areas, to promote appropriate inward investment in these districts.

And it says regeneration work in the Kimmerfields area, with the new Zurich building and more  developments expected and an improved pedestrian route from this area to the town centre through the Parade should also regenerate Fleet Street and Bridge Street.

The report says of Fleet Street, Bridge Street and Faringdon Road: “This is currently a struggling part of town with a high proportion of vacant units. However, given that it contains several attractive heritage buildings, and its strategic location between Swindon Station, the retail core and the historic Railway Village, the area has the potential to become a vibrant, mixed-use, independent district. The investments nearby (at Kimmerfields, the Boulevard and the Heritage Action Zone) will drive greater footfall into Fleet Street.

“These substantial investments will make the Fleet Street area the up-and-coming area of the town. Mixed-use schemes will be encouraged that contribute to the area’s vibrancy, whilst protecting and enhancing the area’s historic buildings.”

The report says most of the management activities in town are done by InSwindon which received a vote of confidence in February to continue until 2027: “InSwindon has led on delivering improving lighting, additional planters, improvements to existing planting of green spaces and additional murals. InSwindon also led on the development of a Town Centre market scheme, which opened in April.

It concludes that doing nothing is not an option: “A proactive council, that unlocks and facilitates regeneration, is considered vital to delivering a Town Centre that residents will be proud of.”

The meeting starts at 6pm on Tuesday October 4.