A wrecking ball could be taken to seven buildings across the borough of Swindon.

The borough council has lodged seven separate applications for permission to knock down buildings ranging from shops in the town centre, a nursery school building, an old youth centre, public lavatories and industrial units.

The most noticeable of the buildings are two shops at the upper end of Regent Street, at numbers 36 and 37.


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The council wants to level them to create what it calls an “improved gateway” to the cultural quarter. In essence it will widen the alleyway between 37 and number 38 which leads to the car park near the Wyvern Theatre. The council is hoping to redevelop and expand the theatre, and also use the building to house the Swindon Art Gallery and Museum and also use the space for council meetings and civic events.

Dale Heenan, the council’s cabinet member for the town centre, said: "We have been seeking to refurbish this particular building for a while but it isn't safe, so the preferable option is to proceed with demolition. This has the added benefit of improving access into the main shopping area at Regent Street from the Wyvern Theatre as well as paving the way for the future Princes Street cultural quarter.

“Ease of movement between these areas is critical for visitors and residents as well as connecting developments together. The demolition of these buildings at the end of their operational life will therefore open up the gateway from the cultural quarter to the main shopping areas as well as the redevelopment at Aspen House.”

Both units are currently empty - number 36 was used by a kitchen show-room called Christie’s. The unit next door was in use as a drop-in centre by the Swindon Advocacy Movement, a charity which helps people with learning difficulties. It moved out after 24 years in April.

Some confusion surrounds the application to demolish the former youth centre in Highworth, in the corner of the Westrop Primary School site in Newburgh Place.

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The demolition statement lodged by the borough council says: “The building is a former youth centre which is at the end of its economic life, and will be demolished to create additional car parking space in a busy car park.”

But Councillor Alan Bishop, who represents Highworth and Blunsdon on the borough council, and is also a Highworth Town councillor was surprised.

He said: “I didn’t know this had been put in. The Air Cadets use a site for their activities nearby which is owned by the police, and they’re going to have to move out, because the police want to sell it. I know the cadets are quite keen on the old youth centre which is in useable condition apart from its roof. They’ve been talking to the borough council, so I’m surprised to hear about this.

“I don’t know why the council wants to knock it down for parking, it might get half a dozen more spaces out of it, but it’s a free car park, so it won’t make any money from it.”

Other buildings in the firing line include the Wroughton Nursery building in the grounds of Wroughton Infants School in Wharf Road, two units in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate, and three closed public lavatories, one in Evelyn Street in Old Town, one in the car park of The Crown pub in Highworth Road and the last in the car park of Farm Foods supermarket in Whitworth Road.

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All are shuttered, but vandals have smashed the windows in the Highworth Road toilets and broken in through the padlocked door.


  • Regent Street - numbers 36 and 37
  • Former youth centre in Highworth
  • Wroughton Nursery building
  • two units in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate
  • Public toilets in Evelyn Street in Old Town
  • Public toilets in the car park of The Crown pub, Highworth Road
  • Public toilets in the car park of Farm Foods, Whitworth Road.

What do you think of the demolition plans - should they all go? Leave a comment below