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Budget day bounce back boost for Swindon

Swindon will be helped to bounce back from the pandemic with a £19.5 million economic regeneration grant.

As part of his budget announcement yesterday (Wednesday), chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that Swindon had been successful in its bid to the government’s Towns Fund initiative.

Last year, the town was selected as one of 101 places to put forward submissions. The independent Swindon Town Deal Board, made up of experts from the public, private and voluntary sector, created a Town Investment Plan.

Yesterday it was confirmed that six projects proposed by the team would benefit from funding:

  • Health Hydro refurbishments: embedding community and leisure uses in the heart of the Railway Village
  • Redevelopment of units of the Carriage Works: completing Phase 3 of the rejuvenation of Brunel’s former Carriage Works, redeveloping three units as well as part of the building fronting onto London Street
  • Create Studios at the Carriage Works: fitting out the new space to support Swindon’s digital economy and up-skilling residents
  • Brunel Centre Market: introducing new town centre uses, complementing the High Street and bringing a new experience
  • Heritage Action Zone Streets and Spaces: public realm and improvements to walking and cycling routes to tie together Swindon’s heritage-led regeneration projects and connect the Designer Outlet and North Star to the town centre
  • Kimmerfields Enabling Infrastructure: delivering enabling infrastructure to make land ready for new homes and offices on the next phase of Kimmerfields, adjacent to Zurich’s new flagship building

In all, Swindon got four-fifths of the total it had bid for. Unsuccessful was a scheme to regenerate the iconic David Murray John Tower – the tallest building in Swindon.

Richard Newland, chair of the Swindon Town Deal and director of branch and workplace development at Nationwide Building Society, said: “I am delighted that Swindon has been successful in its application for a Town Deal.

“The projects that are in development will be a real boost for the town centre and a positive step forward for the wider area. I look forward to continue working with the expert Town Deal Board to bring these projects to life so the whole community can benefit.”

Councillor David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the Government has seen the potential of these projects and this funding will be instrumental in helping Swindon to bounce back from the challenges thrown at us all by the pandemic.”

And Dale Heenan, cabinet member for the town centre, said: “I am delighted Swindon has secured £19.5 million from the government today.

“I’ve been the cabinet member for the town centre, culture and heritage for the last two years, and in that time, we have secured more than £100 million for improving our town centre – the biggest investment since the 1960s.

“I said from the start: we needed to focus on fewer, more impactful projects. We have been more successful, and visible change has started.”