Ambitious proposals for a £750m regeneration of Swindon town centre including a monorail and a 2,000-seat conference centre are not dead, says the man behind them.

Millionaire businessman Laurie Marsh put the ideas – which he calls Destination Swindon – to the Conservative administration at Swindon Borough Council two years ago.

As well as the monorail, a university campus and revamp of the canal were mooted.

Swindon Advertiser:

Now, ahead of a motion to the council asking the cabinet to reconsider the proposals, Dr Marsh has written to councillors saying his plans are “ready to go”.

His letter says: “Destination Swindon is well advanced with a team of world-class advisers in place, including Gleeds, Arup, Knight Frank and PwC.”

Dr Marsh suggested setting up a charitable finance initiative, which would sees the council increase the value of its land and building assets by providing planning permission, and then attracting investors for projects.

He says using his CFI system would make the people of the town more money: “By eliminating external developers and tax efficient use of the CFI, the returns from the project will be significantly higher than normal and will accrue to the community. The viability will be much advanced and associated financial risk reduced.”

The four phases of Dr Marsh's plan are:

- Gooch Centre – a hub at the railway station with a 2,000-seat conference centre and concert hall and four-star hotel: “With the co-operation of Network Rail this would be the first project to be worked up. It would deliver critical start-up momentum.”

- University: “Approaches have been made to both national and international universities and there is real interest in exploring possibilities further.”

- Restoration – Revamping the canal, and a major housing development nearby would be expected to raise a lot of investment: “Water-centred regeneration is a proven success in place-making and delivering economic regeneration.This would deliver at no cost to the taxpayer.”

- Monorail: “A lot of work would be needed to ascertain what could be delivered both practically and financially. Major players in the industry have already been to Swindon and are interested in the potential.”

When the plans were first made public, cabinet member for the town centre Dale Heenan called them “fanciful.”

He said: “I have written to Dr Marsh thanking him for his interest in Swindon. His charitable foundation initiative is an interesting concept, but it has its issues for a local authority. If Dr Marsh would like a legacy in the town, I have said we would be very happy to see him involved with a project such as restoring the Mechanics’ Institute, or perhaps if there was a philanthropic donation then we could even debate naming the rebuilt larger Wyvern Theatre and Art Gallery after him.”