OUR town has a long and illustrious history which many of its residents are passionate about protecting and preserving.

This passion has been clearly demonstrated by the fierce opposition to the suggested demolition of Clifton Street School, but that’s far from the only important heritage building in town.

Sally Hawson, of Save Swindon’s Heritage, said: “Over the years, this town has suffered quite badly when it comes to heritage buildings being demolished.

“All of our heritage buildings need support because we have lost so many, they should all be preserved because it’s part of where we come from and future generations should be able to enjoy them.

“The Mechanics Institute is an incredible piece of history built by the railwaymen themselves for their own pleasure and people went there to learn, socialise and better themselves at its lending library and theatre. It was central to the Swindon railway community

“The Railway Village wows me every time I drive through it, it’s spectacular and unlike any other part of town, plus the fact that the Milton Road baths are still complete, functioning, and recognised with a blue plaque always cheers me up.

“On the whole, I think things are improving and I think the discussion around heritage has grown – more people are aware of our heritage, want to keep it, and object to demolitions.”

Last year, Swindon secured the second-ever Heritage Action Zone in the whole of the south west, which will enable projects to take place at the Health Hydro and Railway Village, which was voted England’s favourite conservation area in a poll run by Civic Voice UK.

Swindon Borough Council invested more than £2m in the Carriage Works to protect the listed site and provide high tech start-up office space by carrying out extensive renovations.

The first part of the regeneration work completed with the opening of the Workshed.

Also, 113 years after it was built in Swindon, the 2818 locomotive returned to the Steam Museum and the council invested £800,000 to improve and protect Lydiard House and its surrounding park.

Earlier this week, rejuvenation work for ‘Swindon’s front door’ Wellington Street, began.

Coun Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for the town centre, said: “Everyone agrees that heritage and regeneration are crucial issues, and visible progress is a key priority for me. There has been a conscious change in approach recently, and this has seen a number of notable achievements and a new sense of momentum.

“This will be a landmark year for Swindon. We are just weeks from seeing work start on the £270m North Star ski slope.

“This summer, major construction work will start in the town centre beginning with the new Zurich headquarters at Kimmerfields and the future of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery will be a big topic for March.

“I’d like every child to be encouraged to visit the council’s museums as a learning opportunity while they are at school, and I would also personally like to see positive progress made on tackling the Mechanics Institute, which is a 30-year problem that has defeated everyone. This year, major steps will be taken to ensure that every single person who lives in Swindon is proud of the town we all call home.”