SWINDON Council has applied to demolish Sussex Square in the first phase of the site’s regeneration.

The £10m project, which will see a new retail development and homes built on the site, is forecast to be in place by early 2018.

The 14 shops, 33 houses and flats, charity shop and library that have made up the district centre since 1958 would all be pulled down.

In their place 34 new houses and 14 flats with parking and landscaping would be built, while the Adver understands the plans leave scope for the remaining library and charity shops to be accommodated.

Councillor Mark Dempsey (Lab, Walcot & Park North) said: “I am very pleased that the regeneration of Sussex Square is progressing. it’s a very important development for the Walcot community.”

A council-led consultation was held on the outline proposals last June, which found most people backed the plans but some were worried it included too few shops.

Carolanne Bond, chairman of Swindon Walcot and Parks Community Group, said: “We already have a lot of good local shops which have been there for years.”

The 69-year-old of Stanley Honey Court said she felt residents had not kept up to date with developments.

She said: “We were told that they couldn’t demolish it until they had rebuilt the shops.

“The residents just don’t know what’s going to happen. There haven’t been any plans in the square and there hasn’t really been a consultation.”

But Coun Dempsey said keeping residents informed about progress was crucial to the development, and agreed new shops should be completed before any demolition.

Last July, Swindon Council’s cabinet agreed the mixed-use development should go ahead. LSP Developments was confirmed as the developer last December.

The existing units are likely to be knocked down during the autumn.