Cavendish Square is poised to return to the hands of Swindon Borough Council.

That’s according to the MP for South Swindon, Robert Buckland, who has supported attempts by neighbours and traders to get the authority to buy back the Park South concrete eyesore it gave away to private developers more than a decade ago.

He has written to residents, saying: “I am delighted to inform you that the council agrees with our proposal to buy the public area of the square, and that the borough council’s aim is to purchase within the next six months. The council is already preparing to deal with the drainage issues.

“This is welcome news and it is great to see the council take an active approach in supporting the residents of Park South.

“It will take time to complete the negotiations to buy the areas of Cavendish Square which are in private ownership, and I will continue to work closely with the council so that all of the areas that residents are concerned about are included. I will make sure the council keeps the promise they have made to me, and local residents.”

Mr Buckland joined members of the Parks and East Walcot Community Forum at the protest it organised calling for the council to take back the square in June.

They have grown increasingly concerned over a string of issues in the area, including flooding, cracked paving, poor lighting and broken fences.

The forum’s secretary, Martin Wicks, said: “If this is going to happen, then we would very much welcome it. There’s no other way of getting the problems there solved other than for the council to take responsibility for it. The private owners have not being doing anything.”

Council leader David Renard said: “We are keen to resolve the flooding and drainage issues at Cavendish Square for the benefit of the local community. Initial discussions about buying back the land, which includes the affected part of the square, have taken place with the land owner but we are still some way off concluding a deal as we have to ensure any terms agreed provide best value to the council.”

The area was given to developers Leehampton in 2008 by the council to make it easier to regenerate.

The company planned to construct a new covered shopping centre but that fell through, and residents say the paving on the square, which floods often, wasn’t properly constructed for outdoor use.

Leehampton then sold the floor of the square and the shops on the Post Office side to the Local Shopping real estate investment trust.

In 2016 that company put the square up for sale, saying the annual income from the shops was £158,000.

The new owner of the square is Lytton Road Limited, but the company is shown at Companies House as ‘dormant’.

Chris Horsell runs the Hair Care hairdressers on the site. He joined in the June protest and said he was pleased at the news: “If it’s true than that’s really good.

“We need the council to take it over because we need a point of contact – someone to talk to about what’s happening here. We don’t have any contact with the owners at all. We’ve not heard from then at all. They’ve got a managing agent, but they’ve never been here either.

Mr Horsell said there had been some repairs done recently: “There’s been some maintenance and some work on the lights- I don’t know whether that was just down to the owners, or whether the council got involved.

“If the council takes it back, then we can lobby councillors and MPs to get things done - at the moment we have no leverage at all.”

Reverend Linda Fletcher, vicar of St John’s church in Parks had encouraged people to get involved in the protest.

She said: “I hope this gives people encouragement about making their voice heard – that it can make a difference.

“The real hero in this is Martin Wicks of the community forum. He’s worked for years on trying to get something done about the situation.”