Emptying the streets

Despite little having changed since Swindon Borough Council’s licensing committee last considered proposals to ban street traders from much of Swindon town centre, they have now approved the proposals. The only things that have changed are some strong objections from the owners of The Parade, and the appearance of proposals for repaving Regent Street. Those proposals talk of

De-cluttering the street, removing unnecessary items

yet on the same page encourage cluttering it again.

Encouragement of cafes and food outlets with street side seating areas.

It seems the council’s and New Swindon Company’s views are that a trailer selling doughnuts is bad, but a cafe selling doughnuts on the street is good. Reading the comments of shop-owners and developers, one could be forgiven for thinking that the rundown state of the town centre is entirely a consequence of a few street traders, and nothing to do with their inability to find occupants for now boarded-up shops.

These proposals do nothing to create a ‘vibrant street scene’ but go a very long way towards creating a bland one.