THE council is to terminate its agreement with the development firm that promised to deliver the transformation of Swindon town centre.

After years of dead ends and frustration, the cabinet has voted to pull out of the deal with Muse.

It was an agreement that originally heralded great promise — with development bosses declaring that “Swindon’s renaissance” had “moved a step closer”.

New streets with retail and leisure space, a hotel, a new bus station, offices and homes were all promised. But only a multi-storey car park, a health centre and a block of assisted living flats were ever delivered.

In July, the council showcased its ambitious vision for the town centre, with Kimmerfields at its heart. But an air of doubt and speculation hung over the event amid rumours that the relationship with the developer had reached a point of no return.

Yesterday, that speculation was confirmed.

Garry Perkins, the cabinet member responsible for regeneration, said: “Revitalising the town centre remains a top priority for the council and the £350m Kimmerfields regeneration project is a key part of those plans.

“On Wednesday, the cabinet authorised officers to enter into negotiations with Muse and the Homes and Communities Agency to agree a mutual termination of the development agreement.

“The council has taken this action to accelerate progress on the site following the successful completion of the first phase.

“Options for delivering the remainder of the scheme are already under way, including plans for the new bus exchange, and these will be brought before the cabinet in December.

“Our economic strategy outlines how we intend to grow the value of Swindon’s economy by almost £2bn over the next 10 years. The redevelopment of the town centre, together with the exciting plans to regenerate North Star, will highlight exactly why Swindon is ranked among the most investable towns or cities in the UK.”

Coun Perkins said that it would have been “foolhardy and more costly” to walk away from the agreement sooner, adding that such a move would have damaged the council’s ability to find a new way to deliver the £350m project.

He accused his Labour opponents of wanting to “quit the moment things get tough” and said they were running a “left-wing ideological campaign”to talk down his party’s achievements on development and leisure.

The Labour spokesman for town centre regeneration, Jane Milner-Barry, said the decision to cut ties with Muse was "another spectacular U-turn from the Conservative cabinet and represents an end to 10 years of failure to regenerate our town centre."

She added: “All the talk of £350m of investment was always a load of nonsense and now it has been shown to be.

“Labour supports this move and have been calling for this for many years. Indeed I proposed this at a recent council meeting.

“Muse have delivered no private sector investment in to the town centre and Swindon residents have rightly been frustrated with the lack of action.

"We think the council needs to project manage the regeneration of the town centre itself rather than being locked in to an expensive agreement with a private company.

"We also need to review the proposed road network that was part of this scheme. The Whalebridge roundabout was part of the Muse agreement and has long been a bugbear of Swindon motorists. There are other road network proposals which will lead to traffic gridlock so need to be amended.

"Most importantly the council needs to learn not to reach agreements with companies who fail to deliver. A cursory bit of research shows Muse has failed to deliver similar schemes across the country and the council got it wrong.

"Hopefully lessons will be learnt.”