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Developer found for £10m regeneration of Walcot square
A DEVELOPER for the long-awaited multi-million-pound regeneration scheme at Sussex Square has been announced by Swindon Council – marking a huge step in the project’s progress.
The £10m proposal, which will see a new retail development and homes being built on the Walcot site, will be delivered by LSP Developments.
Under the plans, the 14 shops, 33 houses and flats, community hall and library, which have made up the district since 1958, will all be pulled down.
In July, Swindon Council’s cabinet agreed the mixed-use development should go ahead. This was decided despite the fact the developer plans to rent homes at affordable rates (80 per cent of market value) rather than social housing prices (about 50 per cent of the market value).
Coun Mark Dempsey, (Lab, Walcot & Park North), said it was great news that progress has been made. “It’s really encouraging a developer has come forward.
“I am looking forward to seeing the planning application when it comes into the council. I understand there will be a public consultation for people to have their say on the planning application.”
Residents came out in support of the outline proposals during a council-led consultation in June, which found most people backed the plans but some were worried it included too few shops.
Coun Dempsey said: “We wanted to make sure residents had a chance to have their say before the plans went out to a developer. I was pleased with the feedback – most people were really impressed with the plans.
“I was very keen to make sure there is proper provision for community activities such as for the library and for the shop. The youth cafe is also run from Sussex Square so if it continues it is important it is offered a space there too.”
But Carolanne Bond, the chairman of Swindon Walcot and Parks Community Group, said it was not happy with the plans as it feared the site could be transformed into a concrete mess for years.
Carolanne, 69, of Stanley Honey Court, said: “We are going to be left with a load of rubble for years before they build the houses. We will still have to get across the site to get to the new shops.”
She said the outline plans included a new supermarket, which she felt was not needed in the area.
“We already have a lot of good local shops which have been there for years,” she said.
It is expected a formal planning application will be submitted to the council during the next few months.
The existing units are likely to be knocked down during the autumn, with the retail side of the scheme being completed the following autumn, and it is anticipated the whole project will be finished by early 2018.
LSP Developments were unavailable for comment.
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