THE historic Grade-2 listed main gates of the Town Gardens on Quarry Road look as good as new after being restored to their former glory.

South Swindon Parish Council enlisted a heritage blacksmith to spruce up the crumbling metalwork and chip away at the paint to reveal its original Venetian red-brown colour.

After a year of work, the foundations have been laid, the gates are being installed this week and will be ready for visitors to use soon.

Coun Neil Hopkins said: "The parks got transferred to us 18 months ago and this was one of the first things we identified as needing work.

"Parts of it were literally being held together by paint and had not had any maintenance for years.

"There was a lot of damage to the pillars and gates because of vehicles reversing into them. We now have infrastructure installed to prevent that in future.

"Peter Neal and his team have done a wonderful job restoring these gates and the other three around the Town Gardens, they look and feel fantastic, it's brilliant.

The £83,000 project was paid for with money from the parish council and from the Landfill Communities Fund administered for Hills by Community First. The heritage officer at Swindon Borough Council ensured the work was carried out to the required standards.

The gas lantern formerly fixed atop the gates will be replaced at a later date.

The gates were originally installed in 1904 after a Mr W J Mullings of Bristol paid £40 and 12 shillings to make them.

Coun Jane Milner-Barry added: "These gates were in a bad state when we took over the parks but I think people are going to be really pleased with how they look now.

"We have more plans for the park and this was a big part of the restoration."