A TOWER block of flats can be built on the site of Swindon town centre’s abandoned Tented Market.

And it will be if economic conditions pick up, said the developer’s architect Chris Moore.

Mr Moore, who works for NC Architects in Wroughton, was speaking to Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee on behalf of CJV Properties.

The company had lodged two separate but closely linked plans to redevelop the Tented Market site, which links Commercial Road to the Brunel Centre and Wharf Green and has been unused since 2017.

But the approval came after pleas from ward councillors to the developer to widen the range of possible uses of the lower floors.

CJV had asked for permission to demolish the market building and replace it with a two-storey complex which can house a shop, restaurants and cafes, with a tower up to 10 storeys high featuring 68 flats.

It also put in an application for the same two-storey complex without the tower.

Mr Moore said: “I want to get the residential scheme built.

"But if the climate isn’t right, we can build the lower building with the lift shafts and stairwells capped and then build the residential element later when it picks up.”

He said: “We don’t want to demolish the site and have it blighted while we wait for the economy to pick up. This means we can use the site until it does.”

Earlier, councillor for Central ward Bob Wright had urged the developer to think about making the two-storey unit useable for other purposes than just a shop or cafes.

He said: “We shouldn’t be relying on cafes and shops for regeneration – going back to the old normal won’t work.

"I ask you to make the unit more flexible and adaptable.”

Mr Moore said he was very willing to work with Coun Wright and his clients would be happy to have other uses if retail and food and drink tenants did not come forward.

Not every member of the committee was enamoured of the design of the buildings.

Jane Milner-Barry said: “The bottom is very low key with a colourful post-modern meets with Art Deco tower block on top.”

Stan Pajak was also lukewarm but said he would reluctantly support the proposals, which were both granted permission.