Council passes plans to show off art collection

This Is Wiltshire: David Renard, the chairman of Swindon Heritage, and vice chairman David Thackray at Swindon Museum  and Art Gallery, in Bath Road David Renard, the chairman of Swindon Heritage, and vice chairman David Thackray at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, in Bath Road

SWINDON may be leading the way when it comes to attracting big businesses and keeping the houses prices down, but it still has a long journey before it will be recognised as a cultural hub competing with the likes of Bath and Bristol.

That is why council bosses passed plans for a pioneering scheme to develop a cultural quarter, housing the town’s impressive 20th Century art collection, which currently has 90 per cent of its stock locked up behind closed doors.

Princes Street Wyvern Theatre multi-storey car park has been selected as the ideal location for this ambitious proposal due to its proximity near to the main shops, and because it offers the potential to build more than just a new art gallery and museum but also parks, offices and residential houses.

Swindon Council’s cabinet members gave their blessing for action to progress on the project, at a meeting on Wednesday night.

This will see the former car park being demolished mid-way through next year, applications for funding being sought from the Arts Council and Lottery Heritage and a £50,000 feasibility study being launched.

“It’s great to acknowledge Swindon’s need for an art gallery and museum,” said councillor Garry Perkins, cabinet member for economy, regeneration and culture.

“We have the second most impressive 20th Century art collections in the country and it should be put on display.

“There will be a whole cultural quarter there, the library is already near the site then there is little art galleries and the new cinema will be there as well.”

He said the scheme was first identified in the town’s masterplan, which was drawn up by the council and Forward Swindon. This grand plan identified the need for an improved cultural centre as one of Swindon’s most significant hurdles.

“This should bring more businesses into the town,” said Coun Perkins. “Employers look for places where people would like to live, where their families and child children are happy so that is why cultural investment is very important.”

Friends of Swindon Art Gallery and Museum along with a number of businesses have expressed an interest in either providing money or fundraising for the project.

Robert Hiscox, of Hiscox Insurance is leading the way to find potential supporters.

“I love the art in Swindon, it has a very interesting collection, bought for very little money,” said Mr Hiscox.

“It is an extremely good example of modern art but it needs to be better housed.

“Swindon’s not known for its culture. What I love about Swindon is it wants to regenerate.

“This new gallery would not only boost Swindon’s visitors but it will help the whole surrounding area.

“I love art – building a good centre is not all about businesses, it’s not all about shops, cultural and other activities are very important.”

Comments (9)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:53am Fri 13 Dec 13

Klinkerhoffen says...

I smell fudge in the air.

And beware the sting in the tail - is this a cultural quarter / hub for the good of the town, or is it merely a sugar coated pill to justify the cramming of even more houses into the area? I'm not against using a brown field site for housing per se, but the Princes Street car park isn't that big and yet apparently, not only will the plot house the gallery AND Museum, but also 'parks' (?!) AND housing...!! Something doesn't smell quite right to me. A mere re-location of the gallery and museum from one cramped building in Old Town to a similar cramped - but lucrative for the council - location in the town centre won't have achieved anything in the long run.

Lets hope the lucky consultants in receipt the £50k for the feasibility study actually earn it
I smell fudge in the air. And beware the sting in the tail - is this a cultural quarter / hub for the good of the town, or is it merely a sugar coated pill to justify the cramming of even more houses into the area? I'm not against using a brown field site for housing per se, but the Princes Street car park isn't that big and yet apparently, not only will the plot house the gallery AND Museum, but also 'parks' (?!) AND housing...!! Something doesn't smell quite right to me. A mere re-location of the gallery and museum from one cramped building in Old Town to a similar cramped - but lucrative for the council - location in the town centre won't have achieved anything in the long run. Lets hope the lucky consultants in receipt the £50k for the feasibility study actually earn it Klinkerhoffen

9:33am Fri 13 Dec 13

Morsey says...

No need to spend any more than a couple of million, just brick in the sides of the car park, put a few doors in, it has ramps for the diabled already, and a coat of paint ... one huge arts centre!
No need to spend any more than a couple of million, just brick in the sides of the car park, put a few doors in, it has ramps for the diabled already, and a coat of paint ... one huge arts centre! Morsey

10:54am Fri 13 Dec 13

candid friend says...

This is a Council sacking staff, selling assets, with the
Tories facing the loss of overall control.
It seems like nonsense to me, and is apparently being led by a Councillor implicated in the Wi-Fi scandal.
Rather than get excited about a "non starter" it's best to regard the proposal as window dressing for the local elections.
This is a Council sacking staff, selling assets, with the Tories facing the loss of overall control. It seems like nonsense to me, and is apparently being led by a Councillor implicated in the Wi-Fi scandal. Rather than get excited about a "non starter" it's best to regard the proposal as window dressing for the local elections. candid friend

12:40pm Fri 13 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Not sure that "Swindon" and "Culture" should be in the same sentence anyway!
Not sure that "Swindon" and "Culture" should be in the same sentence anyway! house on the hill

10:27pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

house on the hill wrote:
Not sure that "Swindon" and "Culture" should be in the same sentence anyway!
So lets not try and rectify that, eh?
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: Not sure that "Swindon" and "Culture" should be in the same sentence anyway![/p][/quote]So lets not try and rectify that, eh? Phantom Poster

9:41am Sat 14 Dec 13

Jeremy Hilary Boob says...

Could't they have used the old Railway Museum for this years ago? What's currently in there could quite frankly have gone anywhere.

Or, restore the Mechanics and use it for this and a replacement for the Arts Centre instead of the glorified community/drop in centre that will never happen because it's not remotely viable. That would restore a historic building, rejuvenate the whole Railway Village area instead of having a museum/art gallery surrounded by a major town centre road, the court (and all the associated "customers" that attracts) and an uninspiring car park.
Could't they have used the old Railway Museum for this years ago? What's currently in there could quite frankly have gone anywhere. Or, restore the Mechanics and use it for this and a replacement for the Arts Centre instead of the glorified community/drop in centre that will never happen because it's not remotely viable. That would restore a historic building, rejuvenate the whole Railway Village area instead of having a museum/art gallery surrounded by a major town centre road, the court (and all the associated "customers" that attracts) and an uninspiring car park. Jeremy Hilary Boob

2:10pm Sat 14 Dec 13

PJC says...

Would the Adver like to employ someone to proof-read their copy before they post it? I'm happy to oblige. What exactly are 'child children' ?
Would the Adver like to employ someone to proof-read their copy before they post it? I'm happy to oblige. What exactly are 'child children' ? PJC

4:35pm Sat 14 Dec 13

twasadawf says...

Morsey wrote:
No need to spend any more than a couple of million, just brick in the sides of the car park, put a few doors in, it has ramps for the diabled already, and a coat of paint ... one huge arts centre!
Great idea it would the New Tate modern
[quote][p][bold]Morsey[/bold] wrote: No need to spend any more than a couple of million, just brick in the sides of the car park, put a few doors in, it has ramps for the diabled already, and a coat of paint ... one huge arts centre![/p][/quote]Great idea it would the New Tate modern twasadawf

4:42pm Sun 15 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Phantom Poster wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
Not sure that "Swindon" and "Culture" should be in the same sentence anyway!
So lets not try and rectify that, eh?
Need the people to be able to do that. Went into town yesterday and still full of fat chavs with snotty kids, yobs, people who dont say sorry when they bump into you or thank you for holding doors open etc and those for whom the height of cuisine is greggs or maccy D's, so er no a waste of time.
[quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: Not sure that "Swindon" and "Culture" should be in the same sentence anyway![/p][/quote]So lets not try and rectify that, eh?[/p][/quote]Need the people to be able to do that. Went into town yesterday and still full of fat chavs with snotty kids, yobs, people who dont say sorry when they bump into you or thank you for holding doors open etc and those for whom the height of cuisine is greggs or maccy D's, so er no a waste of time. house on the hill

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree