A property owner and the councillor for the town centre have clashed over building prices in Bridge Street and Fleet Street.

The owner of the Subway building in Bridge Street has defended the building's sale price of £575,000, saying that it won’t even cover the money put into the unit.

But Swindon Borough Councillor Dale Hennan says the owner needs a reality check over the price.

Subway has since left the building, choosing not to renew its lease.

The owner of the site, who wishes to remain anonymous, believes they were promised the area would be revamped when they bought the building in 2016.

They told the Adver: “What I find frustrating is that we’ve actually invested more into the property than we’re selling it for. If we sell it for half a million we’ve made a loss.

“My understanding of the matter was, that when we bought this property we were reassured by the council and Forward Swindon that they were going to regenerate this area.

“On that basis we went ahead. We were given all the hop that this area would be all-singing all-dancing and this was a good area to invest in.”

The owner says comments Coun Heenan has made when he said prices in the area are too high.

They added: “Even though comments say we should cut the rent, we’ve actually halved the rent, so we’re doing everything we can to try and attract a tenant. That was our first option.

“With his comments about needing a reality check and that we want the council to buy it from us is absolute nonsense. Never at any stage have I asked the council to buy the property from us.

“The only thing I’ve said to Dale is that other council’s give businesses incentives to try and do something, because otherwise you have derelict buildings in the town centre.

The owner believes incentives such as lower parking fees in the town centre should be considered to attract greater footfall.

Coun Heenan told the Adver that no promise to redevelop the area would have been made.

He added: “The whole of the Bridge Street and Fleet Street area is privately owned, so no promises would have ever been made on this particular area.

“Everyone in Swindon knows what Bridge Street and Fleet Street are like but I welcome any owner of an empty property who wants to sell up.

“Swindon is no different to any other town and our centre must contract by about 25 per cent.

“For too long people, including building owners, have been in denial. The changing high street means it’s a simple fact that owners need to be realistic about value and for many that does mean a difficult reality check.

Coun Heenan added that owners should look at what other units in the area are currently selling for.

He said: “Recently the Incognito nightclub, just down the road, is 9,600sq ft and is up for sale for £500,000, while the empty Subway building has three flats, is half the size of Incognito and is up for £575,000.

“Good luck to each of them, but these are very difficult times for the town centre.”