SWINDON businesses are hoping the town will be revitalised by a £25 million grant from the government’s High Streets Fund.

The money would go towards constructing a new bus boulevard in the town centre with green spaces, no underpass and changed pedestrian and cycle routes along Fleming Way in a project that would cost £33m.

Malcolm Gregory of Royds Withy King solicitors said: “For decades, the high street has been at the heart of our way of life but in recent years it has been struggling as shopping habits change.

“Big brands are rethinking their retail footprint, looking at how to extract best value from their retail premises. In many instances that has meant store closures but these challenges need to be addressed in multiple ways."

Switch On To Swindon, a campaign to promote Swindon as a great place to work and live, believes the Future High Streets Fund cash would help give the town's high street a lift.

Plus, the group thinks Zurich’s new headquarters at Kimmerfields would deliver a major boost to the local economy.

SOTS board member Kris Talikowski said: “There needs to be joined-up thinking from developers, local authorities and businesses.

“That is getting people to think strategically about what we want from our high streets now and in the future.”

If the Future High Streets Fund bid is successful, the rest of the ambitious project’s costs would be paid with £5m from the borough council and £3m from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Mr Gregory added: “The redevelopment of the bus station and the entrance to the high street will give visitors a very different experience than offered today.

“Swindon’s high street needs to take full advantage of everything we have to offer during the day and the night-time economy. The old model of the high street as a retail destination no longer applies.

“Successful retail environments need to stay one step ahead of customers.

"This will involve retailers, developers and local authorities working together to ensure a lively beating heart in Swindon.”