ALMOST £2million will be spent in the coming years on trying to boost the regeneration of the town centre.

On Wednesday, Swindon Borough Council will approve the figure which will go on a number of areas over the next

The bulk of the cash will be given to Forward Swindon, a company which is fully owned by the council and responsible for bringing investment to the town.

A new economy and regeneration board will also be established to look at the progress of the work made up from council and business representatives.

The money will come from an infrastructure fund established several years ago from the government’s house building fund.

Forward Swindon has been operating for a number of years and often as a mediatory between investors and land owners.

The responsibilities of the company will be changed, allowing it to focus on a number of projects which the council believe can start within the next couple of years.

This includes the transformation of the former Aspen House site and breathing new life into Faringdon Road.

Councillor Garry Perkins (Con, Haydon Wick), the cabinet member for the economy, says the new remit will help give Forward Swindon more focus.

He said: “Now the recession is over, Swindon town centre should really be moving into the future.

“Forward Swindon will now be leading the way on a number of projects which we believe progress can be made on in the next two financial years.

“It has been breathing these projects for the last few years so are in the best place to move them forward.

“They will be negotiating to bring new businesses in.”

Forward Swindon was established in 2010 and has been involved in a number of deals, such as Kimmerfield and Regent Circus.

But it has attracted criticism from some, who say these deals would have happened anyway and the company does not justify the annual subsidy of £455,000 from the council on top of other cash injections.

But Coun Perkins believes the new remit will allow

“He said: “We have seen Forward Swindon being involved in bring higher education to the town which is not really what it was set up to do.

“Now we will see them more focused so we will see tangible progress in a few years’ time.”

The Labour Group still has questions over the impact Forward Swindon has had in the past but hope this will change.

Coun Des Moffat (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) said: ““It is clear that over the course of Forward Swindon’s existence they have failed to achieve anything meaningful for Swindon.

“When this organisation was set-up we were told it would be mostly funded from the private sector and this has not happened at all and they’ve operated out of expensive offices rather than inside the Council, which costs the taxpayer £50,000 per year.

“We hope that these reforms to Forward Swindon will lead to the company actually being of benefit to the town and not a waste of money.

“Their responsibilities for regenerating Swindon’s town centre and in bringing inward investment are integral to the success of Swindon in the future so the company needs to be made to work.”