GARRY Perkins is the man responsible for regeneration in the town centre. After concerns from some that empty plots are making central Swindon look desolate, Coun Perkins argues that the future is bright.

People in Swindon should be extremely optimistic about the future of the town centre because, over the next few years, it will benefit from several hundred millions of pounds of investment.

We only ended our development agreement with Muse at the end of last year following an extremely lengthy land assembly process and, since then, plans to refresh the Kimmerfields masterplan are already well underway and we are working closely with Homes England to bring together a scheme that the whole town can be proud of. The former Carfax Street medical centre has been demolished and we have had strong interest from an anchor occupier meaning that development could take place in the next two to three years.

We are on the cusp of a £270m regional leisure destination at North Star and our multi-million pound investment at the Carriage Works is proof of the Council’s proactive approach to regeneration, bringing heritage buildings back to life to benefit small and growing businesses, including some really exciting and innovative Swindon companies.

Large regeneration schemes take several years to come to fruition, which is why the Council is acting as a catalyst for redevelopment and looking to facilitate development on the empty Aspen House site while giving the derelict Falcon House above Debenhams a new lease of life.

I can assure residents that the future of Swindon’s town centre is incredibly bright. Watch this space.