Locarno developer wants old images
THE DEVELOPER of the Locarno is appealing for old photographs of events which took place in the historic building in bygone decades to help support its regeneration plans for the site.
Steve Rosier, of Bach Homes Locarno Ltd, is working with Swindon Council to draw up a design brief that will guide what uses and architectural styles are acceptable when the planning committee considers applications.
As part of the brief, Mr Rosier wants to include old photographs showing how the building was used, such as of bands and revellers, however he says that despite having numerous pictures of the exterior, he is struggling to find any taken inside.
The venue, built in the 1800s for civic and agricultural trade purposes, became a roller skating rink from 1910, and was then leased in 1919 as a cinema called The Rink. After the Second World War, it was refurbished with a Canadian maple floor and became the Locarno Dance Hall, but was later used for wrestling, pop concerts and as a bingo hall.
Mr Rosier said: “It seems to me a lot of people in Swindon have fond memories of going to dances or going to concerts in fairly recent times, rather than in the 1800s.
“Of course cameras have been around all that time as well, so we found it surprising we didn’t have any pictures in the archives of the building being used in that way. “The photos would assist us with the design brief and be featured in there and they would fill in the blanks. “Some great bands have played there and someone must have taken some promotional pictures. “We have got old posters promoting a few of the bands, but nothing of the bands performing.”
Mr Rosier said the general principles for regeneration would be discussed by a design review panel in October. He would publish a series of briefs to keep the public updated with progress.
“It’s going positively,” he said. “I’m sure we’ve got some challenges ahead but it’s certainly moving forward positively at the moment.”
The Adver revealed last month that Back Homes Locarno Ltd had binned all its old plans for the Locarno in a costly move that indicates a commitment to working closely with the council to find a long-term solution.
Mr Rosier withdrew the appeal over its application to gain another three years in which to start a project to restore and extend the listed building, providing 115 apartments and a register office.
The developer has also withdrawn an application for a hotel development, which was refused in February 2011 but was re-submitted to the council, and has also agreed not to go to appeal on the refused application to demolish the Locarno.
Anyone with photographs can email them to Adver reporter David Wiles at email@example.com or post them to the office at 100 Victoria Road, Old Town . Please include a contact telephone number.