Car park to be sold for redevelopment
5:30am Thursday 19th June 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
A TOWN centre eyesore is set to be demolished as part of plans to regenerate the Fleet Street area.
The dilapidated John Street Car Park, which has been falling into ruin for a number of years, will be sold for a minimal amount and then knocked down.
It is set to be brought by UK Commercial Property Estates Limited, which owns The Parade, and transformed to get better access to the shops, before being developed into commercial space.
In its place will go a ground-level car park in the short term before the land is redeveloped, with the council gaining 50 per cent of any profit made from any construction.
He said: “The John Street Car Park is well past its sell-by date so something needs to be done.
“The top levels are not safe and it has been a ground-level car park for a number of years.
“UKCPEL wants to purchase the site so it can get to the shops from the rear. They will demolish it and then put in a ground-level car park so those who use that end of town have somewhere to park.
“They will cover the cost of the demolition and the new car park.”
A report is set to go before cabinet next week recommending council officers open talks with the company for a small amount, known as a peppercorn figure.
The estimated cost of the demolition is believed to be in the region of £350,000 while it is estimated roughly £50,000 a year will be saved with the disposal of the car park, which currently has 117 spaces.
If the demolition has not been completed within 18 months of the handover, the council can take the car park back. The same applies if the site has not been commercially redeveloped within five years.
With plans for the development of the town centre progressing, Coun Perkins believes this is a positive move for Swindon given its proximity to the proposed new bus station.
He said: “We have invested plenty of money in the town centre but it is well known that a lot of work needs to be done at the Fleet Street end of town.
“This is an area in great need of investment and this is a positive move which will provide a boost to the businesses down there.”
The cabinet meeting is being held on Wednesday where the scheme is expected to be approved.
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