Never believe a project plan based on the seasons

With the recent departure of Mr James it now seems to have fallen to our local councillors to provide updates on the actions (or more generally lack thereof) of the New Swindon Company. Thus it is that an update ostensibly written by Mr Young has appeared in the ‘talk back’ section of their website previously occupied by Mr James’ thoughts. I say ostensibly, because the piece is hard to distinguish from many others produced by the New Swindon Company spin machine.

As you know, we’ve been focusing a lot lately on improving the town centre’s public realm facilities in order to provide a better environment for our proposed new developments.

I thought they’d been doing it because the government had chucked some taxpayers’ money in their direction.

Plans are also underway for public realm improvement works on Regent Street…. We are hoping to be onsite early next year.

Early next year? That’s not very precise for a construction project that, if taken at face value, could be less than two months away from starting. Perhaps by ‘early’ he means ‘first half of’.

In general, plans for Union Square are moving in a very positive direction.

R.I.P. plain English. I’d rather the plans were stationary but the work progressing.

A detailed planning application for phase one of the development — which will comprise of 45 sheltered dwelling units, a new Primary Health Care Trust facility and a multi-storey car park

For what is meant to be a prime office area that all sounds very public sector to me.

is due to be submitted very shortly. If all goes according to plan, we look forward to starting on site in summer 2010.

Aah, back to those imprecise deadlines. An old adage is never believe a project plan based on the seasons of the year.

An outline planning application for the rest of the development is due early in 2010 — and we hope to be ready to begin on site with phase two of the scheme in the latter part of 2011.

That’s just five years after most of the area was demolished, and still nothing has been done to make use of the areas surrounded by hoardings.

Plans are also nearing completion for the former Swindon College site development. We are hoping to see a planning application submitted in the near future

I’ve heard that one before… several times over at least two years. I’m no more inclined to believe it now than I was last time.

In the more immediate future, work is due to begin on site early in January 2010 for the new BHS development.

Wow! A deadline precise to within a month! So there’s one development we can be confident will happen. Just one. There’s no mention of the replacement for the collapsed Regent Place development. “Transforming Swindon’s retail centre” appears to have been consigned to the already overflowing dustbin of failed regeneration masterplans.