TWO town centre building projects worth more than £600m combined look set to be put on indefinite hold.

The coronavirus pandemic means work on the long-awaited indoor snow centre at North Star – due to start this spring – is on ice.

It is likely to be a similar story at Kimmerfields, where Zurich is set to build its new headquarters.

Seven Capital, the builders of the £270m 'snoasis' at North Star, have confirmed that the start of construction will be delayed.

A spokesman said: "Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures we and most other businesses across the UK are now undertaking measures, as advised by the government, in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

"Unfortunately we are not in a position to be able to confirm work on site at the North Star.

"Our plan remains firmly to deliver the North Star development for Swindon, so we look forward to being able to move this project forward in the future once we have navigated this current situation."

When planning permission was granted for the snow centre in November 2018, Seven Capital said it hoped ground clearance could begin in spring last year.

It credited "business uncertainty" at least in part caused by Brexit last year for difficulties in raising all the cash needed but said at the end of 2019 that work was expected to start in the spring.

Zurich, meanwhile, said it hadn't yet postponed work on its new £350m headquarters but was keeping a close eye on the situation.

A spokesman for the company said: "We are continuing to make good progress on plans for our new Swindon town centre offices. Although there are no current delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are continuing to monitor the situation and will adapt the timings as required.

"We will confirm a start date for construction in due course and look forward to playing a part in the ongoing regeneration of the town centre".

Zurich is funding the construction of the new tower block, but Swindon Borough Council has agreed to buy it when finished and rent it to the company.

There have been calls to shut down building sites as non-essential work, although the government has not yet done so.

Both schemes are key components of a council-led regeneration of the town centre.

Cabinet member Dale Heenan said: "Bricks don't lay themselves and every building site in Europe has stopped work.

"Only supermarkets, food stores and pharmacies are allowed to be open in the UK. The three delays on Brexit last year paralysed major financial deals and regeneration in every town in the UK but it wasn't visible to the average resident and business. This year we have a near shutdown of the economy because of the coronavirus and it is affecting everyone.

"Groundbreaking on the new offices in Swindon town centre will only be held once the pandemic is over. This project is key for Swindon because it has been over 20 years since the last office development. It will happen, but it will also take two years for Zurich to build so a few months delay is the least of anyone's problem's right now."