Cabinet to discuss new art museum’s site in Swindon town centre

This Is Wiltshire: The multi-storey car park close to the Wyvern Theatre which could make way for a new museum The multi-storey car park close to the Wyvern Theatre which could make way for a new museum

ART in Swindon could soon be given a new home in the space vacated by the soon-to-be demolished Wyvern Theatre car park.

Following an independent appraisal of four locations for a new art gallery and museum, the site was chosen to be discussed at cabinet next week.

The need for a new home for art in Swindon arises as the current gallery, on Bath Road, is considered too small to house the sizeable collection owned by the Borough.

Coun David Renard, chair of the Swindon Heritage Board, said: “It is a lovely building, but I do not think there are too many people who think it is an ideal place to house the collection in Swindon.

“We have space to display no more than 10 per cent of our art collection and we have a fabulous collection but we are not making the most of it.

“We have had an independent assessment done, and the key reason this location has been chosen is that the Town Centre Masterplan identifies Princes Street as the cultural quarter of Swindon.

“That is one of the main drivers of the report, and everybody was happy with that recommendation.

“The Masterplan has cross party support, and we have consulted with residents and businesses. It is a project everbody has signed up to which will shape the future of Swindon town centre.

“We need to go out to tender to find contractors to bring down the two car parks first, which will likely come by the middle of next year.”

In order to fund the ambitious project, the council has invited benefactors to step in to help with the cost. Robert Hiscox, of Hiscox Insurance, among others, has expressed interest and, if the plans are approved, an application will also be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant.

Coun Renard added: “Robert Hiscox is an individual who is very interested in art and is a collector himself. He will be working with various other wealthy donors to work towards delivering this.”

Robert Hiscox said: “The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery has a fascinating collection of modern British and contemporary art, but the collection deserves a better home and it is inspirational that the council, politicians and local people have united behind the vision of building a new one.

“A new museum and art gallery would bring a cultural vibration to the heart of Swindon and be a vital part of its regeneration and a great asset to the whole region.”

Gordon Dickinson, a local artist, threw his support behind the site next to the Wyvern as the inspiration for a new cultural quarter.

“I see the car park as a great area, because it would be keeping all the art in one corner of town,” he said.

“That would allow people to take in both the art gallery and the theatre. It makes sense, how many car parks do we need anyway?”

Comments (6)

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8:40am Fri 6 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

This would be fantastic if it comes off. Fully support this one. Nice to see a bit of vision from the Council
This would be fantastic if it comes off. Fully support this one. Nice to see a bit of vision from the Council Wildwestener

9:13am Fri 6 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

Princes Street - "the cultural quarter of Swindon"??????
Princes Street - "the cultural quarter of Swindon"?????? Phantom Poster

9:29am Fri 6 Dec 13

Morsey says...

Would be nice, but funding? Don't recollect a public building other than commercial or car park being put up by this lot, though ... so probably will not happen in the next twenty years?
Would be nice, but funding? Don't recollect a public building other than commercial or car park being put up by this lot, though ... so probably will not happen in the next twenty years? Morsey

11:51am Fri 6 Dec 13

twasadawf says...

Don't knock it down(car park) convert it ,could become a new tate modern gallery,
Don't knock it down(car park) convert it ,could become a new tate modern gallery, twasadawf

12:10pm Fri 6 Dec 13

GrumpyLocal says...

Why are the moving something that has culture, history and meaning to the town away from the oldest and most culturally significant area of it.
The council seems to have absolutely no respect for the Old Town area, despite is having more character in Wood St than the whole of the town centre.
There are interesting development plans for Old Town surrounding the Corn Exchange that should be being considered as a viable area for the museum, instead of trying to impose something into an area such as Princess St that is simply a transit area and has nothing of any significance to offer.
Why are the moving something that has culture, history and meaning to the town away from the oldest and most culturally significant area of it. The council seems to have absolutely no respect for the Old Town area, despite is having more character in Wood St than the whole of the town centre. There are interesting development plans for Old Town surrounding the Corn Exchange that should be being considered as a viable area for the museum, instead of trying to impose something into an area such as Princess St that is simply a transit area and has nothing of any significance to offer. GrumpyLocal

9:57pm Fri 6 Dec 13

Empty Car Park says...

Independent assessment?
Princes Street the cultural quarter? LOL
Town centre "masterplan" ha ha ha
Independent assessment? Princes Street the cultural quarter? LOL Town centre "masterplan" ha ha ha Empty Car Park

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