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Town centre on the rise
WHILE many like to believe the best days are behind Swindon, one company is out to prove otherwise.
InSwindon is in charge of running the town centre and aims to increase the number of people who come to the town, as well as ensure they have the best experience possible.
They are responsible for events such as the turning on of the Christmas lights and the wide variety of activities that take place on Wharf Green.
Rebecca Rowland, inSwindon BID manager, said: “I feel very strongly that Swindon town centre has a lot of life left in it.
“We saw that last week with HMV coming back and there are new shops opening all the time.
“We have an amazing mix of well-known retailers and niche stores.”
Despite recent press coverage suggesting the town centre was struggling, Rebecca believes Swindon is not a special case.
“There is no doubt there have been problems but this has been the same across the country,” she said. “I think a lot of people get caught into believing Swindon is the only place which has been affected, but it is no different here than anywhere else.
“When a market generally is struggling that will have an impact, but things are certainly improving.
“If you take the development up at Regent Circus, that will have a fantastic impact when it is ready.”
InSwindon is a Business Improvement District company established in 2007. It is funded largely by other businesses in the town centre, who pay an extra one per cent on their business rates.
As a result inSwindon recognises the importance of working with businesses and other partners to maximum effect.
“We look to encourage dialogue between business, consumers, the council and others to make Swindon a top shopping experience,” said Rebecca.“We help out businesses when whenever we can.”
To help shops and businesses maximise their custom, inSwindon seeks to make the town centre a lively and vibrant place, which gives shoppers another reason to come to town.
“We try to get involved in as many of the major events as possible to make it a really positive experience,” said Rebecca.
“Events such as St George’s day are very big on our calendar, but the turning on of the Christmas lights is probably the biggest thing we do.
“There is a mixture of events which take place in the town centre. Some are through private operators but some we organise ourselves.
“For example, we have just finished a week of sporting activities for children during the summer holidays.”
It was recently announced that inSwindon would be taking control of the big screen on Wharf Green after the BBC relinquished control.
Among the events due to be shown is the Last Night of the Proms on September 7.
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