The changing face of our town centre
5:00am Monday 23rd June 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
WHILE one building comes up, another is coming down as the face of the town centre changes forever.
The Regent Circus leisure development, which it is hoped will breathe new life into the top end of town, is entering its final stages of construction.
Over the road, the derelict Aspen House is being torn down brick by brick to clear space for new development.
It is hoped both will help to improve the look of the area while bringing in more customers for the businesses there.
Built on the site of the former Swindon College, Regent Circus will see a new supermarket, cinema and host of restaurants, including Nando’s, Ask, Coal and Prezzo.
The supermarket will be a new Morrisons, bringing in 180 new jobs, and the company has now begun fitting out the shop.
James Digby, of Ashfield Land, which owns the site, said: “Things are progressing very well and everything should be open by the end this year or the new year.
“The building for Morrisons is now complete and they have moved in and are starting to fit it out.
“We are hoping to have the whole building completed by the end of the summer so we can hand everything over for the tenants to fit all the units out.”
There are still two units for restaurants empty but James is confident the whole complex will be full when the doors are opened.
He said: “We have finalised an agreement on one unit and are in the process of concluding that, while we are about to accept an offer on another.
“Everything will be full when we come to open.”
Progress is also moving forward with Aspen House, which used to house the register office, with diggers having already pulled down a significant portion of building.
Because Aspen House is so close to other buildings, care has to be taken with the demolition process.
It is expected to be completed some time in the autumn.
The council bought the vacant 12-storey building in Temple Street last year, with the aim of regenerating that area of the town centre.
Due to the poor condition of building it was decided to knock it down.
In the short term the land will be open space but the council is in negotiations with a private developer about the its future.
A council spokesman said: “A lot of work has been going on to dismantle and remove the interior of the building, but it will start to shrink in height from the end of June onwards. The plan is to have it all cleared away by mid-November.”
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