Locarno developers given deadline to submit plans following concerns over deterioration of site

By Claire Dukes - 30 January 2019

PoliticsBusinessArts and CultureHeritage

Developers of the derelict Locarno building have been given a legal deadline to submit planning applications in the wake of concerns over the deterioration of the site which they took over in 2016.

  • Image via Google

    Image via Google

This morning Swindon Borough Council, developers, - Swindon Corn Exchange Ltd - and the Locarno's current owner - Gael Mackenzie - signed a Deed of Variation which states that a planning application for the Locarno must be submitted in September 2019.

The Locarno was expected to open its doors in 2020 as ‘The Exchange', but now following concerns raised by the council, and public, the developers have been brought to the table with Swindon Borough Council and Gael Mackenzie to drive the project forward.

The Grade II Listed building in Old Town has been derelict for more than 30 years, and initial contracts for the regeneration project were signed in 2016 with visions of transforming the iconic ballroom into a £35m complex consisting of apartments, restaurants, shops and bars. Since the contracts were signed two years ago no plans have yet to come to fruition.

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, said: “The deterioration of the Locarno has been a concern for residents and the Council for a long time. I am keen to see action, so I am pleased that Mr Rosier and the building’s owner, Mr McKenzie, have agreed to submit a planning application by the end of September 2019.

“The Council is committed to the historic Locarno, and this legal agreement means the developer can finally bring the necessary regeneration forward. I look forward to seeing the plans for the site at the public consultation events in the coming months.”

Steve Rosier, of Swindon Corn Exchange Ltd, added: “I am delighted we have been able to agree a way to deliver what will be a flagship scheme for Old Town.

“SCL have been working behind the scenes for a long time to get this important project off the ground. Historic sites are never easy to redevelop sensitively, and it is great news for us and Old Town that we have the extra time we need to submit a planning application that the whole town can be proud of.”

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