THE £90,000 regeneration of Freshbrook Village Centre is ready to be unveiled with a special relaunch next week.
As part of the initiative to revitalise all the village centres in Swindon, which was cut back last year, the centre in Freshbrook has had a much-needed facelift which is hoped will improve traffic flow and footfall while reducing anti-social behaviour.
Stephanie Bird, of the Freshbrook Community Centre, said she is pleased with how work has developed and is looking forward to enjoying the benefits.
“It is looking a great deal better, and the car park is much more open,” she said. “There is nowhere for people to hide now, which was a problem before with people hanging around after dark.
“They probably could have got more parking spaces in, and I do feel like there are too many disabled spaces that have been installed. There are seven or eight of them, and I have not seen them being used once.
“The parking spaces are lined up and marked out clearly with bricks so there will not be so many issues with people parking all over the place.”
Stephanie added the work had been needed for some time as the centre became dilapidated.
“The centre had been overgrown and dark,” she said. “It was quite scary for some of the older residents, especially at night. It was just generally run down.
“The work has gone quite smoothly, and while we have had a couple of issues getting into the car park, it hasn’t affected us greatly and it hasn’t been a problem. Hopefully we will be more visible now. The place is a lot less threatening and hopefully people aren’t going to hang around quite as much as they used to.“ Coun Cindy Matthews (Lab, Lydiard and Freshbrook) said the new centre was a welcome sight but may have taken too long to put together.
“I do not know that it should have taken more than two years to get to where it has got now. That is a colossal amount of time for something that is not dramatically different.
“It has been quite chaotic while it has been there, because they have been taking up a lot of the car parking spaces and there has been builder’s stuff everywhere.”
“We would hope that people would feel happier to shop and use the community centre as a result. At night some of the old people would get quite nervous but hopefully with the new set-up they will feel safer and more comfortable.
“It is a well-used and wonderful community centre and this will help increase their footfall.”
The centre will be officially relaunched with a special event between 10am and 2pm on 27 May, with a bouncy castle, refreshments and representatives from local businesses taking part.