Library hosts exhibition of group blueprint for town centre
THE man behind Swindon’s masterplan was put on the spot by residents as he turned up at the exhibition at the Central Library.
Yesterday, Ian Piper, chief executive for Forward Swindon, was on hand to field questions over the plan to transform the town centre over the next 15 years.
Forward Swindon are charged by Swindon Council with regenerating the town, and this month, unveiled its view of the shape of things to come, with a wishlist that includes a new performing arts centre, art gallery and a two-way route along Commercial Road.
But residents have voiced their concerns about the plans saying that they are vague and they are not confident they will ever come to fruition.
Ros Timlin, of Alfred Street, said: “Experience has taught me to be cynical of what is being said, not everything but some of it.
“I was struggling because it is so high level. The problem with it being so high level makes it difficult to engage, some times the vocabulary used wasn’t always helpful.
“I have got some concerns which I will put in the reply form, I don’t think it is quite as simple as they are portraying it to be.”
Reg Palk, 79, of Royal Wootton Bassett , said: “My main concern is that they are using buses for rapid transport and I don’t think that is right, it is not forward thinking.
“The other is the forecourt of the station doesn’t provide any interchange between rail and buses.
“I am pleased to see work on the town regeneration has finally started, I was concerned Swindon was nothing else but a concrete slab.”
Mr Piper said that the responses he had received had been positive and urged more people to comment on the plans.
“The idea of the exhibition was we were able to speak to people, and generally the responses have been positive. They like what they have seen and we welcome responses on the form,” he said.
“This is not something that is going to happen overnight, it is a direction of travel for the town centre over the next 10 to 15 years and a lot of it will be delivered by the private sector.
“It is vital we have a clear masterplan in order to attract investment into the town and I think a plan like this needs to have a certain level of ambition.
“It’s about balancing between that level of ambition, with what we can reasonably deliver so that the expectations are not too high.”
Exhibitions for the public to inspect the masterplan will be held at Swindon Central Library, until October 5, at Swindon North Library, Orbital Retail Park from October 6 to 12, and the Link Centre from October 13 to 19.
For more information, visit swindonmasterplan.co.uk or email swindonmasterplan@ am-up.com.