Ambitious plans unveiled for town centre skyscrapers

By Claire Dukes - 15 July 2019

CommunityArts and Culture

Ambitious new plans to regenerate the town centre - including two huge skyscrapers - will go on public display this week.

Developer and facilities manager of The Brunel, FI Real Estate Management (FIREM), is set to unveil new plans to regenerate Swindon's town centre with the proposal of two high-rise buildings at Wharf Green.

The proposed redevelopment at Canal Walk will consist of two residential towers, and multi-use leisure space on the ground floor accommodating restaurants, cafes and other commercial leisure uses.  A ‘pocket park’ will also be created off Farnsby Street.

The high-rise towers being proposed are currently up to 20 and 24 storeys in height and totaling up to approximately 280 one and two bedroom apartments. There is also plans for a number of resident amenities including a rooftop garden above the first floor leisure space, lounge area, private dining, meeting rooms and co-working spaces.

It is envisaged that up to approximately 30,000 sq. ft of leisure space will breathe new life into the town centre’s evening economy and act as an anchor for the southern end of the centre, making it more accessible and appealing for residents to use particularly around Wharf Green. The redevelopment will also provide the opportunity to enhance the current shopping arcade. 

In addition, a public greenspace will be created in place of the concrete access ramp that currently serves the units, shoppers, residents and workers.

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, has welcomed this 'needed changed' for the town centre. He said: “Barely a month goes by without a major retailer or restaurant chain announcing they have run into difficulties caused by the increase in online shopping and the change in people’s buying habits.

“Local residents know change is needed in our town centre, and the owners of the Brunel Centre are trying to make that happen. It is crucial residents comment on these credible plans because this is our town’s one opportunity to get it right or face the status quo for another 20 years.

“This development will bring investment worth tens of millions of pounds, but it is the park, rooftop gardens, and the equivalent of 15 tennis courts of leisure uses which are important because they will fundamentally change the area around Wharf Green, and replace the House of Fraser store.”

A spokesperson for FI Real Estate Management added: “We are hugely excited about our plans to regenerate and make better use of this prominent site by working in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, our tenants, businesses and the local community.

"The retail landscape of town centres is rapidly changing and it is crucial that we adopt an innovative approach to meet the demands of people in Swindon. This emerging scheme will be subject to further discussion with the local planning authority following the consultation feedback and prior to submission of an outline planning application.

"We very much look forward to hearing the public’s views and feedback at the event.”

The council and FI Real Estate Management are welcoming residents to see the proposals in an exhibition at The Arcade, The Brunel Shopping Centre, next to Buzz Gym.

The exhibition will be available to view from Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 July from 1.30pm to 6.30pm.

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