Work to transform the tatty and run down Havelock Square in Swindon town centre, which will include new seating, paving, lighting and trees, begins on Monday 11 January.
The £850,000 scheme, which has been paid for by contributions from housing developers around the Borough, will also see the statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, unveiled as part of the first phase of building the Brunel shopping centre in 1973, moved to a new plinth in a different part of the square.
The work will start with the removal of the square’s eight plane trees, which were planted in the early 1970s. They will be replaced with eight acacia trees which will be five to six metres high when they are put in. They will be planted in a way that will prevent the roots damaging and lifting the paving surface as they grow, unlike the existing trees.
It is expected that the improvement work will be completed by late May. Access to all shops will be maintained at all times and the square will be kept open for pedestrians as the work goes on.
The work will include installing new benches to match those in the rest of the town centre, a new granite plinth for the Brunel statue which visitors will be able to sit around, and LED lights in the tree canopies.
The design will also allow for outdoor markets and events to be held easily in the square.
Councillor Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet member for Economy, Regeneration and Skills, said: “This work is well overdue. Havelock Square is a key route into the town centre from Old Town and the Brunel Centre’s busiest entrance point.
“This scheme will give it a thorough makeover and make it a far more attractive place to walk through and sit in. It will also make it a much more attractive place for retailers. Even Brunel will get a new view – he will be turned on his new plinth so he is looking towards his railway works.”