Swindon’s bid for millions of pounds in government funding to build a bus boulevard in Fleming Way faces stern competition.

The borough council’s plan to make the street a public transport hub is a central plank to its ambitious plans to regenerate the town centre. The authority has bid for £33m from The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s £675m Future High Street Fund.

But it is up against more than 300 other bids from other local authorities.

And at the moment, Euclid Street doesn’t have an alternative plan if its bid fails.

Coun Dale Heenan the Conservative cabinet member for the town centre told members of the council’s growing the economy overview committee: “We are not talking about a Plan B at the moment - we are competitive with our bid.

“If it doesn’t happen we will need a Plan B, but at the moment we need to have confidence in our plan and hold firm. A plan B would undermine our bid.”

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Coun Heenan added, when the number of bids were announced: “I always knew this would be a competitive process but 300 bids makes this one of the best responses the Government has ever had. I have read a few of the other bids and they come across a bit frivolous, which include lighting up old buildings, or creating a wellbeing hub as the answer to the future of the High Street.

“Swindon submitted strong case that will make a significant change to the town centre and work can start almost immediately. We also have letters of support from many local businesses, including the Brunel Centre owners who have exciting redevelopment plans, which demonstrates that the changes to Fleming way will help.

“Town centres must change, the iPad has just turned nine years old and in that time online shopping has grown from 1 per cent of sales to 20 per cent.

“ I suspect the Government will increase the £675m available because several councils, including Swindon, are eligible for a second bid next year. My personal view is that second bid should focus on the bottom end of the town centre around Bridge Street and Fleet Street but first we must wait for the summer results.”

The Labour group on the council is supportive of the bid, but hopes there is an alternative plan.

Coun Jane Milner-Barry, its spokesman on town centre regeneration, said: “With the caveat of ensuring that there are public toilets at the new bus station and some minor road tweaks, the Labour group supports the bus boulevard bid.

“I hope Coun Heenan isn’t throwing all his eggs in the Future High Street Fund. It is clearly a very competitive fund and we saw with the Museum and Art Gallery bid that even strong bids do not always win the money.

“If Labour take control of the council after the May elections we will continue to support the bid but would be working in the meantime on other options too in case the bid is unsuccessful.”

Westminster’s Minister for High Streets Jake Berry MP said: “More than 300 bids to the Future High Street Fund is a fantastic response and shows the passion across the country to meet the challenges facing our high streets head-on.

“The government has the power to set the direction but those on the ground know best. I look forward to reviewing the innovative proposals from local leaders to transform our high streets and town centres and make them fit for the future.

“We’re determined to ensure high streets continue sit at the heart of our communities for generations to come. Our Future High Streets Fund will sit front and centre of our plan for the High Street as we work to achieve this aim.”

Coun Heenan is standing in the Swindon Borough Council local elections on May 2 in Covingham and Dorcan ward.

Other candidates are Tom Smith for Labour and Melanie Bailey of UKIP.