As part of the £350 million regeneration of Swindon – managed by Forward Swindon – major changes are to be made to Fleming Way to create an extended town centre where people can move freely and easily between work, retail and social areas.
Work is due to start in 2016 when Fleming Way will be closed to traffic other than pedestrians, buses and cycles. It will be redesigned and remodelled, with the elevated section of the roadway being lowered to pedestrian level. The existing, uninviting subway will disappear and the whole area will become a single, shared space, including a ‘linear park’.
It will connect the business district and the station to the north with the retailers and eating/dining facilities in the heart of the shopping area.
Once the changes to Fleming Way have been completed, a new bus exchange is planned at its western end, with the existing bus station being re-developed as part of the new Kimmerfields central business district.
Ian Piper, Chief Executive of Forward Swindon, which is leading the regeneration programme on behalf of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The town centre is split in two by Fleming Way, making access to shopping and social facilities difficult for workers and visitors. By removing this physical barrier, we will make Swindon town centre a more vibrant and attractive place to work and to visit.”
The project is part of a multi-year regeneration programme for the town. This is the latest stage in that process and aims to connect business and social areas into a single, accessible setting with landscaping and improved amenities.
Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration and Culture, commented: “Thriving town centres boost the local economy and increase the region’s prosperity. This project will help to realise our vision for Swindon as an attractive place to live and work in today’s 21st Century world.”
Preparatory work is now beginning to enable the re-development of Fleming Way. Over the next two years, Forward Swindon will also be undertaking a series of face-to-face meetings with businesses and other organisations who are likely to be affected. Closer to the start of works, an information and awareness campaign will be developed to ensure that everyone has the information they need in good time.
Doug Finlay of Muse, the developers undertaking the regeneration programme, pictured by Calyx above, noted: “Creating an easily accessible, vibrant town centre is a vital part of Swindon’s future prosperity. Joining the two halves of the town centre, while at the same time extending the central business district, will be a major step towards the realisation of that goal.
Fleming Way currently bisects the town centre. Its closure to all traffic other than buses will mean that motorists will have to take other routes for their journeys. As part of the planning application process, traffic engineers identified alternative routes to access the town centre.
Above, the Carfax Street car park and bus station underneath will be demolished. However the double helix structure immortalised by author Jasper Fforde as one of this Seven Wonders of Swindon will be no more.
Whether it will be dismantled to be rebuilt at a theme park in Arizona as Fforde writes has yet to be determined
Read more about the car park and Jasper’s Seven Wonders of Swindon
Below, the Kimmerfields site between Fleming Way, left, and Corporation Street, right. Image by Richard Wintle of Calyx