ELECTION 2014 - Central: Regeneration game
UNDOUBTEDLY the biggest issue facing the central ward in the coming years is the town centre regeneration.
The economic downturn hit high streets across the country hard, with Swindon being no exception. While there are certainly signs of improvement, few people are in doubt much larger regeneration is needed.
Making sure any regeneration is of both high quality without trampling on the current residents is something any new councillor will need to consider.
Daniel Rose, the chairman of the non-political Mechanics’ Institute Trust, said: “Everyone wants to see regeneration but because of the difficult economic times it has been previously hard to get the investment needed.
“What’s going to be important now though is we ensure we have high quality investment and do not just accept the first thing which comes along.
“We need to make sure we create a town centre that is a nice place to be and has high architectural standards with a lasting impression rather than a short-term fix.
“I would hope that any elected member would stand up for these issues.”
Daniel believes that central to any regeneration should be the town’s history and he feels whoever is wins the seat next week should do what they can to ensure this is achieved. On top of that, they should make sure the needs of residents is not forgotten in the regeneration process.
“At the heart of Swindon is perhaps a world heritage site and I think this needs to be at the heart of any regeneration plans,” he said.
“Rather than ignoring the town’s history, or even seeing it as a hindrance, it is a big advantage to the town and can be used to make Swindon a place everyone wants to come.
“What seems to be the case more and more now is people seem to understand it is not just about building new shops or businesses but also making sure there is an effective transport network.
“No regeneration will be effective if problems, like those on the roads around the Railway Village, are not addressed.”
Although, the ward covers the shopping district of the town centre, there are also a high number of residents.
In 2012 all three seats were won with large margins by members of the Labour Party.
CENTRAL WARD CANDIDATES:
Tim FRENCH (Conservative)
Junab ALI (Labour)
Nick KEARNS (Independent)
Imtiyaz SHAIKH (Liberal Democrat)
Brian STONE (UK Independence Party)
Turnout in 2012 election: 31 per cent (8940)
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