Brunel is heart of the town
FOR more than 40 years the Brunel Centre has been at the heart of Swindon.
The centre, which has more than 100 shops and restaurants, has been the focal point of the town centre for several generations.
It has had rough times, with the previous owners going into administration in 2011, but the future is looking bright.
Shoppers regularly come through the door and, despite a few empty unit, businesses are returning.
Jane Stewart, the centre’s marketing manager, said: “Footfall is up year on year which is a very positive sign.
“Currently, 11.1 per cent of the units are empty which is in line with the current national average.
“There are new retailers opening on a regular basis and we are very hopeful that will continue.”
While many seem happy to talk the town centre down and argue the future of shopping is either in out-of-town shopping centres or online, Jane disagrees.
She has only been in her current job for a couple of weeks but has already seen much to encourage her about the town centre.
“What everyone needs to realise is that it’s not just Swindon town centre which has been hit but town centres nationally,” she said.
“I’ve not been here long but already I can see Swindon is such a vibrant and lively place.
“The streets are regularly full of shoppers. There is a very lively atmosphere and people are very friendly.
“The re-opening of HMV last week is the perfect example.”
The Brunel Centre is home to a wide variety of retailers, ranging from large scale chains, such as Sainsburys, to smaller boutique shops, like recently opened Miche Niche.
The centre is just one cog in the machine that is the town centre and Jane understands the importance of working with other stakeholders in the town.
She said: “We work very closely with all of our retailers so everyone can get the maximum benefit.
“Miche Niche is a prime example of a business which started out as a stand but has now moved into a unit.
“We work together with The Parade and I have met with InSwindon as well the council to talk on ways to improve Swindon.
The Brunel Centre aims not just to attract shoppers from Swindon but also those from further afield.
Money has been invested to promote the centre outside of the town, not just to other shoppers but to other retailers.
“A town centre will always be the beating heart and Swindon has a great deal to offer,” said Jane.
“It is in a prime location and has lots of potential customers.
“I don’t believe for one second Swindon town centre is past it.
“There is still plenty of life and a strong future ahead.”
Comments are closed on this article.