Going… going… almost gone

The vanishing redevelopment of Swindon Town Centre

’Twas once the time when the masters of spin were the New Swindon Company, when it came to making out that minor changes to the town centre were stunning improvements. The leaders of Swindon Borough Council have now snatched the spinning baton and would have us believe that the redevelopment of a single department store will now transform the town centre.

It really does beggar belief that the New Swindon Company’s Mr James seems to think that announcing the replacement of a single department store somehow lessens the fact that a major development has been shelved. Regents Place is dead… long live BHS. A £215 M development shelved, but don’t worry, all’s well: one store is spending £25 M. Let’s hope that Mr James never takes up marriage guidance as a profession, as his understanding of commitment is rather unusual.

I am pleased to say that Modus are fully committed to a development in Swindon…. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say when it will get back on track as this depends on when the economy moves out of recession and the property industry regains its equilibrium.

It’s not surprising that many commenters do not believe that Mr James’ Modus bride will ever make it to the development altar.

Yet some of our councillors appear to have even less of a grasp of reality than Mr James. First, as always, there’s Mr Bluh, who sees movement where there’s only stagnation.

I do believe this scheme will go ahead, the momentum the town’s regeneration has created isn’t going to be easily stopped.

Momentum? Where? Unless the momentum Mr Bluh has in mind is downwards, like that of a lead balloon, there is little in evidence. Perhaps he’s still rather over excited after spending the weekend having fun at our expense, but all we’ve got of regeneration so far is one giant television, installed a year ago — which for most of that time has shown little more than news and weather bulletins — and a large number of boarded up demolition sites. The only obvious momentum is the continual spin from politicians about the stalled regeneration. Another spinner is Mr Barnett. He seems to be easily impressed.

It’s going to tidy up an already tired looking building. It’s great news for Swindon. All sides have come on board to provide the town with useful shops in a good looking building.

The plan for BHS’s store is to replace a large windowed concrete and glass building with a large windowed stone-clad concrete and glass building. Stone-cladding have never been so exciting.