AT first glance the newly-unveiled plan to demolish the north end of the Mechanics' Institute seems shocking, and to some in Swindon it will border on the sacrilegious.

Anyone with a shred of feeling for the town's history should feel saddened that such a grand building has fallen into useless neglect, regardless of the rights and wrongs of redeveloping the site.

However, the one certain fact is that while the Mechanics' remains a boarded-up tumbledown relic, it serves nobody - neither current owner Mathew Singh, nor the people of Swindon.

It is a shame that Mr Singh feels he has to raise the prospect of demolition as a form of threat to try and shake - as he sees it - English Heritage out of its torpor.

Using the building as a pawn in the argument is not the ideal way to go about it but we hope there can be some movement on this issue. Because, while the Mechanics' is allowed to lie empty and rot, it is a reminder to everyone about the bad points of Swindon's recent history.