THIS is the first look at ambitious £33m plans to transform the town centre and create a new ‘bus boulevard’.

Artists’ impressions depict Fleming Way with major changes to the pedestrian and cycle routes, a new public space and ‘green spine' along the street, and no more underpass.

Di Powell, leader of inSwindon BID, supported the plans, saying: “This is a much-needed and exciting project.

“It would be good to see such a tired and dated part of the town centre thoroughly modernised, increasing footfall and driving investment.

“Losing that underpass will open up the whole area and the boulevard will enhance the area’s appearance and change perceptions.

“This should help the regeneration and create a town centre ready for the future.”

The borough council’s cabinet will be asked next Wednesday to endorse a £25m bid to the government’s Future High Streets Fund, which would help pay for the new transport facility, with the rest of the costs being covered by £5m from the council and £3m from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cabinet member for the town centre Coun Dale Heenan said: “Town centres can no longer be completely reliant on shops to survive and these projects are key.

“Sorting out the bus station and Fleming Way is one of the top three problems we need to solve with the help of our partners, along with a new cultural quarter and finding a sustainable use for the Mechanics Institute.

“The improvements at Kimmerfields have been a priority for many years but a lack of funding has held back progress.

“This government funding is targeted at shovel-ready schemes, like Swindon’s, which focus on ensuring attractive public space, modern sustainable transport links, and quality homes so that great entertainment, shops, cafes and restaurants can be delivered.

“We have a strategy, we have the plans ready to be implemented, now we just need this government money to make it happen.”

The scheme would build on the work being carried out at Wellington Street by creating a route from the train station into the town centre, which would hopefully encourage further investment in the area.

The new road layout would complete the link between the Eastern and Western Flyer cycle routes.

The bus facility is part of the Kimmerfields regeneration site and would free up the area housing the current bus station, increasing the site’s size by 20 per cent and boosting the development’s value.

Coun Heenan added: “Everyone must recognise that the high street is changing.

“The challenges facing our town centre are not unique, but we are fortunate to have the added benefit of the popular Designer Outlet and Old Town, with its independent shops and bars.

“We also have a raft of exciting projects coming forward which are beginning to build real momentum.

“Six months ago, no-one would have believed that building work for the North Star ski slope and the new state-of-the-art offices for Zurich would both start this


“Yet they are and there are also exciting plans coming forward from the owners of the Brunel shopping centre.”

As part of the proposed Fleming Way changes, the cabinet will be asked to model potential changes to the Whalebridge junction in line with the emerging Town Centre Movement Strategy and to finalise any outstanding compulsory purchase orders needed for the Kimmerfields development and the new bus facility.

If cabinet approves the Future High Streets Fund bid for the bus interchange, the council will submit an initial expression of interest to the government by March 22.

Councillors will then find out during the summer whether it is successful.