THE wheels are finally starting to turn of a flagship project to regenerate Swindon town centre.

Financial giant Zurich has had two of the conditions on the permission it was given to build a huge new headquarters in Kimmerfields partially approved.

When the company was given the go ahead to build the new tower block, planners at Swindon Borough Council said it needed to show its plans on dozens of aspects of the building.

That included how it would prevent contamination of the site, and how it would construct foundations to keep the tower standing.

This month the plan for contamination was partially signed off and plan for pilings and foundations approved.

It is the first sign of movement on the building since approval for the project was granted in 2018.

Zurich said it was unable to talk about the matter, but work was expected to being this year before being delayed by the coronavirus lockdown.

The plan is that Zurich will build its new £38m headquarters on cleared land on Fleming Way and move its staff from its current headquarters in the Tri-centre building a few yards away.

The borough council will then buy the building from the company and lease it back, earning rental income.

In May the Conservative cabinet agreed at a hastily-arranged meeting – held in private – to increase the amount of money the council will pay Zurich for the building.

The tower block is at the heart of the council’s plans for the town centre and business district.

It is planning to turn Fleming Way into a 'bus boulevard' – closed to cars – where all bus services will stop. It will get rid of the pedestrian underpass beneath the road to make it easier for people to move between the business area and the shopping centre.

The borough council indicated it wasn’t able to comment on the restarting of work on Zurich’s building if the company would not comment.