Council plans £80k facelift for square
PROPOSALS for an £80,000 facelift in Covingham Square have been unveiled by Swindon Council as part of plans to refurbish some of the town’s village centres.
The plans to improve the square include improving the recycling provisions to make recycling more attractive to residents with new bins and collection points, improving the green areas around the square, planting more trees, and revamping the paved and seating areas.
Brian Osbourn, chairman of the parish council: “The plans look nice but I also think the shop fronts need looking at too.
“It’s very well having the parks done but when you look up you’ll still see the old buildings and the old apartment fronts.”
The work to spruce up the site has been welcomed by businesses, who are hoping a more attractive square will bring more customers to their stores.
Ruth Wilson, the new landlady at the Messenger pub, said: “It’s about time the square was done. It needs it and it will be good for the shops and it will attract more people.”
Steve Cavilla, manager at G&L Evans family funeral directors, said: “Anything that will brighten the area that will make it a little more tidy is positive.
“My only concern would be whether it is kept tidy. Especially in the good weather people want to sit outside and enjoy drinks and their fish and chips so there should be a good maintenance programme to keep it tidy.”
Ian Fang, manager of the fish and chip shop, said: “It will be good for our area. Businesses will be happy and I think more people will come to the square.”
In February last year, then-council leader Rod Bluh unveiled £900,000 to rejuvenate tired village centres such as Covingham Square, Liden, Eldene, Toothill, Freshbrook and Guildford Avenue, in Lawn, over two years.
In July the budget was slashed in half to £450,000 and Eldene and Toothill were told they would not get funding.
But current cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, Dale Heenan, who has taken over the project, wants the project completed by the end of the financial year.
Mr Heenan, ward councillor for Covingham and Dorcan, said: “This is a major step and will improve Covingham Square and mean it’s fit for purpose for another ten years.
“Two years ago we gave the square lick of paint and now we are making improvements which will last for the next 10 years.
“In the next five weeks we will talk to everybody and the works will be finished by the end of March.”
Residents can comment on the plans during a five-week public consultation from September 23.
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