Major demolition work in Swindon town centre to pave the way for its continuing multi-million pound regeneration has started, to finish early next year.
The Carlton Street multi-storey car park next to the bus station – pictured below – is the first structure to see the wrecking ball, followed by the Wyvern multi-storey car park – pictured on the left above. The programme will end with the removal of the footbridge across Princes Street.
The overall budget for the project is just under £1m, and is being carried out by locally-based contractors Lawson Demolition Ltd. It is expected that 97 per cent of the materials from the work will be recycled.
Once cleared, the sites will be available for new construction. The bus station area is already earmarked to be part of the £350 million Kimmerfields development, which will create a new commercial heart in the town, with new offices and retail space, 450 homes, a new NHS walk-in centre and a new bus exchange. The Whalebridge multi-storey car park and attached flats have already been built.
Dismantling and demolition of the disused 30 year-old Carlton Street car park has commenced and the work is due to be complete by late autumn. Bus companies have been consulted and it is anticipated that there will be virtually no disruption to bus services or passengers while the work takes place.
The Wyvern car park, which is nearly 45 years old, will be closed in mid-August and will be demolished by the end of the year. The Shopmobility office on the ground floor will be relocated to its new home in Sanford Street in August. Drivers who currently use the 190 spaces in the Wyvern car park are being advised to park in the Whalebridge or Fleming Way car parks. The works will also involve the closure to the public of the open-air car park opposite the Magistrates’ Court for approximately six months from mid-August.
With the removal of the access walkway between the Wyvern car park and the theatre, disabled access will continue to be possible via Regent Circus through to Theatre Square, or via the theatre’s existing lift for the disabled.
In early January, the footbridge across the Princes Street dual carriageway from Theatre Square will be the final structure to be demolished. The work is estimated to take one month, with the only disruption to traffic being one overnight closure on one weekend. The bridge needs immediate repairs costing £100,000, and the decision to remove it has been taken to avoid further on-going maintenance costs. Pedestrians will be able to use two nearby crossings instead – the Regent Circus crossing and the recently-installed crossing near to the Magistrates’ Court.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council cabinet member for Economy, Regeneration and Skills said: “This work will pave the way for further major improvements to the town centre.
“In a few short years we’ve seen the building of the new Whalebridge car park, the Regent Circus development which swept away the old college, improvements to the pedestrian areas of the town centre, the new station forecourt, the demolition of Aspen House and the recent application for a new leisure complex next to The Oasis at North Star.
“It all takes time but we are making significant progress and we were doing so even before the recession began to lift. This shows the faith the private sector has in Swindon’s future economic prospects.”
He hopes the first elements of the Kimmerfields development will appear in 2017.