ANGRY residents protested to persuade the borough council to buy back Cavendish Square – and MP Robert Buckland has thrown his support behind them.

A lack of drainage, fencing and lighting around the square has led to flooding and safety fears from people who have lived in the area for decades.

Promises of an indoor shopping centre never materialised and all attempts to contact the private developer that currently owns the land, Lytton Road Ltd, have failed.

Secretary of Parks and East Walcot Community Forum Martin Wicks has highlighted these issues for years.

He said: “It’s been a nightmare.

“No drainage was put in because of the shopping centre plan but the centre was never built.

“So when it rains, there is serious flooding, there are no outdoor lights and much of the fence around the car park has disintegrated. It isn’t safe for those who live here.

“The council borrowed £3 million to buy back part of the square that they used to own so they should buy back the rest.”

Frustrated locals are petitioning the borough to take back control of the Park South community hub and held a day of action to raise awareness of their plight and rally support.

Foster carer Sue, who did not wish to give her surname, said: “I’m 64 and have lived here all my life, it used to be lovely because we had a market and a really nice atmosphere.

“The centre was supposed to make thing better but everything’s worse than before.

“Whenever my friends come over, they ask if it’s safe.

“It makes me so angry that some think this is a rough area but it’s great to see so many people came to this, it shows they care.”

Resident Stella Hopkins said: “I’ve been here 25 years and I think the council should take it back, it’s appalling at the moment.

“There were more facilities years ago and it’s got the possibility to be a vibrant area again but we have to put the pressure on to get things done.”

Their efforts received the support of the local MP as well as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, Sarah Church.

Mr Buckland said: “Thank you for the representations you are making, it really makes a difference. We are not getting any response from the people who are legally responsible for the maintenance of this square.

“I will continue to work with you and use my position to lobby Coun David Renard and bring this square back under council ownership, which will make it easier to get the improvements that are needed here.”

Ms Church said: “This square is central to the community of Park South and I think if this problem had happened in a different area, action would have already happened, which is disgraceful.

“I’ve seen the painstaking work everyone’s put into this and you deserve better – lets hope something gets done now.”