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Town centre landmark a cheap place to live
A TOWN centre landmark which was once home to high fliers around Swindon has been named as one of the cheapest places to live in the area.
The David Murray John Tower, which was built in the 1970s, has appeared in the top 10 least expensive places to live in the SN1 postcode area for the first time.
Spring Gardens has topped the list as the least expensive in the town centre with the average property price at £71,825.
The DMJ tower appears in ninth place with an average price of £96,501, according to the figures from property price specialists Mouseprice.
Coun Mike Bawden , who was a Swindon councillor when the tower was built, said: “The idea when it was built was that senior executives from local companies could stay there for six months.
“When we started off it was management people who were looking for reasonable accommodation in the town centre.
“That didn’t work frightfully well and in the end it became part of the council housing department stock, but it wasn’t in the housing revenue account.
“It’s more than 30 years old and things have moved on. I am not the slightest bit surprised that is is a particularly reasonable location. The choice in Swindon, if you are looking for a flat now, is good. There are quite a number of areas where you can go to.
“When it was built it was looked upon to be an ideal location for senior executives. A number of major companies rented a flat and managed it themselves.”
Town clerk David Murray John, who the tower is named after, retired from the council in 1974 and construction started in the same year.
He died the following year and the tower, which was finished in 1978, was named in his memory.
“Building the tower was one of the last decisions of the old Swindon Borough Council ,” said Coun Bawden.
“I remember David Murray John saying ‘we need a focal point in the centre of Swindon where we can see this building for miles around’. He was one of the most remarkable men I ever met.
“He was perfectly correct to say it was a focal point. I would suggest it still is because you drive in to Swindon from a distance and it is the first thing you see.
“I don’t think the 35 years have been very generous – the building hasn’t aged very well. I think the borough has a problem with what it does with it. You could argue we need to spend an awful lot of money on it. There isn’t the money around to do anything with it.”
Yersin Court is second in the list with an average of £72,857, closely followed by Erin Court with an average of £79,469.