SHOPPERS will be able to keep abreast of current affairs as they walk through the town centre, thanks to a giant TV screen.

The Wharf Green development, next to the tented market, will become the first location in the south of England to have a permanent BBC Big Screen installed.

The 35sq metre screen is part of a nationwide project to utilise the latest in giant outdoor screen technology with BBC content, live events and interactive games.

The huge screen will be positioned along the north-facing façade of the Brunel West car park and has been paid for out of the Government's Growth Point Fund.

It is expected the project, which is being undertaken by the New Swindon Company on behalf of Swindon Council, will be completed by next spring.

Peter James, the chief executive of the New Swindon Company, said: "Hosting the only screen in the south will propel Swindon's image to a national level.

"This new development will start to create that lively bustle that has been absent for so long."

BBC Live Events project director Mike Gibbons said the technology would showcase the best local film and video content and local information.

The Swindon screen will be the ninth such television in the country.

The other eight are located in the north of the country, in cities including Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.

Coun Phil Young, Swindon Council's cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, said: "This is another significant step in delivering a town centre environment the town's residents can be proud of, and supports the successful delivery of our promise to regenerate the town centre into a vibrant heart for the town and borough."

Wharf Green will also provide Swindon with a focal point for the 2012 Olympics and for the lead-up activities and events that are planned once London takes over the mantle of Olympic City.

The project is part of a £1bn town centre regeneration scheme featuring seven key redevelopment sites.

The Exchange and Arena has been earmarked as a new flagship office area adjacent to Fleming Way, with provision for homes and leisure facilities.

The Promenade will be home to the council's new central library, with the potential for new cultural facilities, and The Hub, including the Regent Place development, will expand on the town's retail market.

The Arena will be a mix of retail, commercial and recreational facilities to include a central piazza.

North Star Village has been identified as a new and vibrant residential area, while Swindon Central will bring the railway corridor to life and offer access to the town.

The Campus is a business development area to the north of the railway.