MEMBERS of the public are being asked their views on a plan to protect Swindon’s heritage for future generations.

The draft Swindon Heritage Strategy also aims to educate people about the town’s history and use its heritage to drive social, environmental and economic regeneration in the borough.

The strategy has been devised by the Swindon Heritage Board, made up of representatives of national heritage bodies, the Swindon and Wiltshire councils, Swindon Heri-tage Coalition and the Swindon and District History Network.

Other objectives include creating a Swindon Heritage Hub, drawing together the national heritage bodies in the town to develop excellent training, skills and career opportunities for the sector.

Plans to move the collections of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to a new town centre site also form part of the strategy, as does developing partnerships between the voluntary, public and business sectors.

A questionnaire – on paper and online – will ask people what they regard as priorities, such as options for landmarks like the Mechanics Instit-ute and the Locarno, to ensuring young people get a chance to learn about Swindon's heritage.

Council leader Rod Bluh said: “We have a duty to not only protect the diverse heritage of our town, but to educate our young people so they grow up with a sense of pride and belonging in the place in which they live.

“I would ask that people take the time to read the draft strategy and also fill in our questionnaire, so we can build up a good picture of what Swindon’s heritage means to local people and what they want to prioritise.”

Daniel Rose, chairman of the Mechanics Institu-tion Trust, said: “Our heritage needs protecting and celebrating as a way to make us all feel proud of where we live and be inspired by the achievements of the town’s past.”

Sharon Soutar, of Rodbourne Community History Group, said: “This is a great opportunity for us all to say what makes Swindon special. Swindon has all sorts of heritage and it is really important that we celebrate it and try to protect it for the future.”

The draft strategy consultation will run until April 15 and the survey is at www.surveymonkey.

com/s/N8Y66YK The draft strategy is at heritagestrategy. Any comments can be submitted at heritagestrategy@ or to Tammy Reeve, Swindon Council, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH.

The survey is also available at the One Stop Shop, Swindon Libraries and Museums, or by post.