Members of the public are being asked to give their views on a plan to protect Swindon’s heritage for future generations.
The draft Swindon Heritage Strategy also aims to educate people about the history of the town and use Swindon’s heritage to drive social, environmental and economic regeneration in the borough.
The strategy has been put together by the Swindon Heritage Board, which is made up of representatives of all the national heritage bodies in Swindon as well as representatives from Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Council, Swindon Heritage Coalition and the Swindon and District History Network.
Other objectives of the strategy include creating a Swindon Heritage Hub drawing together the national heritage bodies based in the town to develop excellent training, skills and career opportunities for the sector.
Proposals to relocate the collections of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to a new site in the town centre also form part of the strategy as does developing strong partnerships between the voluntary, public and business sectors to form an action plan for Swindon’s heritage.
In order to capture people’s views on the draft strategy, a questionnaire has been set up asking people what they regard as priorities when it comes to the town’s heritage such as developing options for landmark buildings like the Mechanics’ Institute and The Locarno through to ensuring that young people are given opportunities to learn about Swindon’s heritage. The questionnaire can be filled in online or on paper.
Outgoing leader of Swindon Borough Council Cllr Roderick Bluh, above, said: “We have a duty to not only protect the diverse heritage of our town, but to educate our young people so they grow up with a sense of pride and belonging in the place in which they live.
“This draft strategy aims to do both, while also using Swindon’s heritage as a means of attracting more people to the town and acting as a driver for sustainable development.
"I would ask that people take the time to read the draft strategy and also fill in our online questionnaire so we can build up a good picture of what Swindon’s heritage means to local people and what they want to prioritise.”
Daniel Rose, Chair of the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, right, said: “Swindon has long needed a heritage strategy and we welcome the opportunity to give local people and groups the chance to have their say.
“Our heritage needs protecting and celebrating as a way to make us all feel proud of where we live and be inspired by the achievements of the town’s past.”
Sharon Soutar, of Rodbourne Community History Group, added: “I’m delighted that Swindon is taking this initiative and getting local people involved right from the start.
“This is a great opportunity for us all to say what makes Swindon special. The town has all sorts of heritage and it is really important that we celebrate it and try to protect it for the future.”
The draft Swindon Heritage Strategy consultation opened on 25 February and will run until Monday, 15 April. The online survey can be found at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/N8Y66YK
The entire draft strategy can be viewed by visiting: www.swindon.gov.uk/heritagestrategy
Alternatively, comments can be submitted in writing by emailing: email@example.com or by post to: Tammy Reeve, Swindon Borough Council, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH.
The survey is also available at The One Stop Shop, Swindon Libraries and Museums, or a copy can be posted on request.