Barging expensively into town

At last we have a price tag for Mr Bluh’s wish to run a canal along Westcott Place and Faringdon Road into Swindon town centre. It’s not a cheap price tag. £50M according to Swindon Borough Council’s consultants, Halcrow. I wouldn’t disagree with Mr Bluh’s opinion that a waterway within the town centre would be a great improvement to the attractiveness of the town. But at that price, and bearing in mind that the chosen route, unlike the original route of the canal, will run near to the town centre rather than right through the heart of the town centre, some serious thought is required. Swindon’s main attraction for tourists is well known, even amongst locals, to be no more than that there are many very interesting places nearby (the Cotswolds, Salisbury, Stonehenge, Avebury, Marlborough, the Kennet and Avon Canal…). Of itself, another canal will not change that.

To be worth the price and inconvenience, we need a benefit better than those identified so far.