Swindon AdvertiserRumpus as building gains listed status (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Rumpus as building gains listed status

Swindon Advertiser: Martha Parry at the Victorian college in Victoria Road Martha Parry at the Victorian college in Victoria Road

NEWS that one of the town’s historic buildings has been given listed status has been met with mixed reaction.

The former Technical School, in Victoria Road, was given Grade II status earlier this week, along with its front wall and gate. While the decision has been welcomed by a local campaign group, developers looking to bring the building back into use fear it could scupper their plans.

The listing means work can still be carried out but it puts strong limitations on what can be done. Among the reasons for it gaining listed status is that it is an example of architecture by Thomas Ball Silcock and it is one of the first purpose-built technical schools, with a strong link to the history of Swindon.

he building is included in the Regent Circus development, which will see a cinema, supermarket and restaurants built. Once these have been built the school was set to be turned into office space, although this was later changed to residential space.

Work can still be done on the building but there will now be far more restrictions.

It is not known who asked for it to be given listed status. When Swindon College moved to its current location in 2006, the technical school was targeted by vandals. Swindon Civic Voice, who did not apply for listed status, have campaigned for the 1895 building to be saved.

Martha Parry, of the group, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with this news. It is so good for the town. The college is such an important part of the history of Swindon. I am so happy to hear it will not be knocked down.

“It’s been a real shame to watch it fall into ruin. At the Civic Voice we would like to see it used as a music conservatory which could hold small concerts and lessons.”

Ashfield Land, which is developing Regent Circus, have been in talks with the council over future usage but believe the listing may halt the process. J

ames Digby, a director, said: “This may be counter productive. Things were moving forward with turning it into residential space but this limits what we can do and means the plans have to be looked at again.”

Council Leader David Renard (Con, Haydon Wick) agreed the listing may slow the process.

He said: “We told the developers the building was close to the hearts of the people in Swindon so it needed to be incorporated into the plans.

“The process will be slowed down but we will make sure that eventually something is done.”

Comments (9)

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8:33am Sat 1 Mar 14

Al Smith says...

Mechanics Institute, Corn Exchange/Locarno soon to be joined by the Old College? What's the point in listing a building if all it does is ensure that it becomes derelict?

Swindon isn't London, Bristol, Bath or Oxford where property prices are far far higher so developers as quite happy to deal with the added hassle of renovating a listed building. Clearly Ashfield Land were struggling to find a cost effective use for the Old College (and conversion into apartments isn't a bad idea) so I wouldn't be surprised if the Old College goes on the market the instant the Regent's Circus development is finished. Yes we should protect our heritage and yes we should ensure that we get high quality developments but in a town like Swindon listing seems to be counterproductive.
Mechanics Institute, Corn Exchange/Locarno soon to be joined by the Old College? What's the point in listing a building if all it does is ensure that it becomes derelict? Swindon isn't London, Bristol, Bath or Oxford where property prices are far far higher so developers as quite happy to deal with the added hassle of renovating a listed building. Clearly Ashfield Land were struggling to find a cost effective use for the Old College (and conversion into apartments isn't a bad idea) so I wouldn't be surprised if the Old College goes on the market the instant the Regent's Circus development is finished. Yes we should protect our heritage and yes we should ensure that we get high quality developments but in a town like Swindon listing seems to be counterproductive. Al Smith
  • Score: 16

9:13am Sat 1 Mar 14

Always Grumpy says...

Great news.
That will at least stop it being knocked down, which is what I suspect the developers really wanted to do from the start. A fine job was done on Euclid Street school, turning it into apartments, so I see no reason why the same can't be done here.
As Al Smith said, I just hope it doesn't end up like other buildings in the town.
Great news. That will at least stop it being knocked down, which is what I suspect the developers really wanted to do from the start. A fine job was done on Euclid Street school, turning it into apartments, so I see no reason why the same can't be done here. As Al Smith said, I just hope it doesn't end up like other buildings in the town. Always Grumpy
  • Score: 6

11:04am Sat 1 Mar 14

beach1e says...

Swindon has a very ugly town centre as most of the buildings are modern. Its a shame that so many buildings have been demolished, Look at decent town centres that flourish partly due to their old looked after buildings...then look at Swindon. Its no wonder it attracts dross.
Swindon has a very ugly town centre as most of the buildings are modern. Its a shame that so many buildings have been demolished, Look at decent town centres that flourish partly due to their old looked after buildings...then look at Swindon. Its no wonder it attracts dross. beach1e
  • Score: 8

1:10pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Badgersgetabadname says...

Such a shame that so many of this stunning buildings are being left to rot as mentioned above Euclid st apartments look great and very different feel to the soulless plaza style apartments that are everywhere.
Hopefully it wont take too long before there is activity they would be much sought after properties IMO.
I wonder what the developments are on the chapel near the beehive?
Is it being fixed or compensated?
Such a shame that so many of this stunning buildings are being left to rot as mentioned above Euclid st apartments look great and very different feel to the soulless plaza style apartments that are everywhere. Hopefully it wont take too long before there is activity they would be much sought after properties IMO. I wonder what the developments are on the chapel near the beehive? Is it being fixed or compensated? Badgersgetabadname
  • Score: 6

2:51pm Sat 1 Mar 14

anotherimigrant says...

The whole area up to Old Town should have been "Slum Clearance" then the Manchester Road area then Rodbourne.

And when we all "consulted" by the liar Renard and his cohorts
The whole area up to Old Town should have been "Slum Clearance" then the Manchester Road area then Rodbourne. And when we all "consulted" by the liar Renard and his cohorts anotherimigrant
  • Score: -1

3:09pm Sat 1 Mar 14

faatmaan says...

the usual save swindons derelict building brigade at work again, this does little to enhance Swindons status as a forward thinking town, we need to attract new employers not retain yesteryears unwanted buildings, I wonder if the save Swindon brigade would drive round in cars of that era, enjoy the medical practices of that time and so on. Remember Swindon is a large population not just the vocal minority.
the usual save swindons derelict building brigade at work again, this does little to enhance Swindons status as a forward thinking town, we need to attract new employers not retain yesteryears unwanted buildings, I wonder if the save Swindon brigade would drive round in cars of that era, enjoy the medical practices of that time and so on. Remember Swindon is a large population not just the vocal minority. faatmaan
  • Score: -4

10:08pm Sat 1 Mar 14

roberto5 says...

I bet the builders are fuming.
I bet the builders are fuming. roberto5
  • Score: 4

10:22am Sun 2 Mar 14

toyota777 says...

Another victory for common sense, a real kick in the b**** for the developers, what a shame. For too long now landmark buildings have been destroyed to satisfy someone or other's personal vision of Swindon.
Another victory for common sense, a real kick in the b**** for the developers, what a shame. For too long now landmark buildings have been destroyed to satisfy someone or other's personal vision of Swindon. toyota777
  • Score: 1

8:20pm Sun 2 Mar 14

house on the hill says...

Really good news though for scaffolding firms!
Really good news though for scaffolding firms! house on the hill
  • Score: 1

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