RESIDENTS in Freshbrook have welcomed their new look village centre following a £90,000 refurbishment.

Yesterday saw a family open day to mark the occasion and the work was given the thumbs up from those who were seeing the changes for the first time.

The whole area has been opened up with overgrown plants removed to make way for more and clear car-parking spaces.

Erica Plank, 28, said: “It looks so much better than it did before. It is now a lot clearer so it’s easier to see across. It appears to be money well spent so I like it.

“It’s good to see everyone coming together as well for the community day.”

Sally Walker, 33, of Westlea, had travelled the short distance to look at the new centre for the first time.

She said: “I think they’ve done a good job, especially with the parking.

“It’s now much easier to get in and the parking spaces are much clearer so it is easier to park because before it was a problem when it rained.

“The whole centre looks a lot tidier.”

The aim of the facelift is to increase footfall for the shops in the area as well as reduce anti-social behaviour.

To celebrate the new opening local businesses got together to organise the fun day, which included a free bouncy castle and refreshments.

Emma Tanner, who is an administrator at the community centre, said: “We just wanted an event so people could come down and see all the work which has been done.

“We want to show them the new look and all the facilities we have here. The parking will hopefully make a big difference for all the shops here and now everywhere is more open there is nowhere for people to hide so it should reduce any anti-social behaviour in the area.”

The refurbishment is part of a council plan to smarten up village centres across the borough.

Coun Mick Bray (Con, Lydiard and Freshbrook) said: “Now it is looking a lot smarter more and more people should start coming to the village centre.

“I have always said Freshbrook is the gateway to Swindon so it is important we get the village centre looking right.

“The village centre is the first thing the children see when they come out of Millbrook Primary School so I think it will help them to have more pride in the area.”

A new scheme involving the businesses having a quick litter sweep of the area once they close in the evening is also being introduced to help keep the area tidy.