Members of the public will be asked for their views about proposals to shake up transport links into the town centre - shaping the development of Swindon for years to come.
Feedback will be sought on the council’s proposed Town Centre Movement Strategy as part of an eight-week consultation exercise - if cabinet backs the recommendation of officers at their July 10 meeting.
The Movement and Transport strategy forms a key part of the broader Swindon Central Area Action Plan - which in turn falls under the umbrella of the Local Development Plan for Swindon Borough.
Although the Central Area Action Plan was adopted in 2009, and is used as a key reference document for town centre planning applications, the plan is being brought up to date - with the aim of creating an evidence-based strategy for movement that will support planning and funding decisions.
A comprehensive traffic model of the town centre is currently being developed in parallel with the Town Centre Movement Strategy which can then be used to model the impact of various road improvements.
The movement strategy contains six ‘priority themes’:
To simplify movement by car into and within the town centre
Improve the integration of buses into the town centre
Better connected cycle networks and walkable streets
Accommodate and manage key vehicle movements to protect the central area
Maximise the car parking offer
To adopt complementary measures such as Park and Ride, and the strategic cycle network, which extend beyond the town centre
Of these, priority has been given to the management of 'unnecessary' traffic in the central area by ‘strengthening the role of the Great Western Way corridor as a town centre bypass’ including improvements to key junctions along the corridor and the traffic management system to maximise the capacity of the route.
In setting out regeneration priorities, the draft report states: ““There is a particular focus on Swindon Town Centre which is widely recognised to be under performing and in need of economic regeneration. To address this, Swindon Borough Council has identified a clear framework of regeneration priorities in the town centre.
“Increasingly, leisure opportunities and town centre living are becoming important aspects of a thriving town centre, as retail habits are changing. This trend is reflected in the emerging updates to the Swindon Local Plan which places a greater emphasis on these aspects.
Key considerations to fulfil these aspirations are the ease and convenience of access to the town centre and providing high-quality people-focused public spaces and streets.
“The Town Centre Movement Strategy sets out a framework to improve access and movement within Swindon Town Centre. (The aim is) to support and boost regeneration of the town centre by creating safe, convenient, user-friendly and attractive routes into, out of, within and through central Swindon and by enhancing the quality of town centre streets.”
A pdf of the draft Swindon Town Centre Movement Strategy can be found here.