Regeneration land to be used as public space

Land earmarked for a slow-moving town centre regeneration could be used for green space or playgrounds while work gets underway.

That is the aim of a £140,000 scheme by Swindon Borough Council to improve the image of the town centre through the slow process of regeneration.

Some areas are more than a decade from completion so the council has decided to use the sites more constructively during this time.

Lead member for property, leisure and recreation Nick Martin said: "The fact is that a lot of this land is going to be sitting there doing nothing for a number of years to come, so why not do something with it? That way, we are using the area and creating a good image of the town centre for people passing through. And for the residents, we're providing facilities and we're doing something for the long term.

"We are working with the New Swindon Company to negotiate with landowners in the areas where we don't own the land, to get an agreement in principle. We will then put it forward for consultation."

Ideas include a temporary cricket pitch, children's play area and places for town centre workers to eat their lunch. Quick-growing trees, flowering pots and plants could be used, added Martin.

Director Nicholas Falk of town centre specialist consultancy URBED said he would like to see it rolled out across the UK: "Many town centres are seeing schemes put on hold. The more you can do in the environment, the more it helps change the image of an area."

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