A NEW charity will protect and promote one of Swindon’s least well-known conservation areas.

The Prospect Place Conservation Area Trust was set up following an attempt to redevelop the former bus depot on Eastcott Road – in the wake of strong opposition from residents.

While their attempt to block the revamp plans proved unsuccessful, trust chairman Michael Gray said the residents’ campaign seemed to rekindle locals’ interest in the history of the area and preserving the character of the packed network of 19th century terraces.

The trust is holding its first meeting later this month, where they will ask people what they want to see from the area’s new conservation charity.

“I know all my neighbours. We all know each other and we have a street party every year,” said Prospect Place resident Michael. “We already have a good community here. But we think we can enhance that and develop it further.”

In August, Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee approved a bid by SN&PRM LLP to build 45 homes on the Eastcott Road site. It followed an application in 2016 to build retirement flats on the former depot, which was refused by councillors.

Michael, an architect, said: “People who weren’t interesting in being involved in the campaign before were drawn in by the history of the area.”

Developed in the early 19th century as the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal brought trade and wealth to Swindon, the streets surrounding Prospect Place were declared a conservation area by government in 1990.

The inaugural meeting of the Prospect Place Conservation Area Trust will be on Wednesday, January 23, from 7.30pm at The Assembly of the First Born Church, 38 Prospect Place.