A CHARITY supporting a canal for Swindon has opened premises to tell people more about the idea.

The Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust branch invites residents to come and see proposed routes for the restored canal, which first ran through the town in 1807.

A survey considering the feasibility of the concept will be considered by Swindon Council in January.

The newly proposed route will pass by Faringdon Road, deviating slightly from the original path by about 20 yards.

A marina is planned by the bus station.

The charity wants to dispel what it says are unfounded rumours about the scheme.

Its new Regent Circus premises opened for the first time on Friday, and people are invited to browse every Friday and Saturday for the next six months.

"We have had people coming in saying: what is going on?'," said Roy Cartwright, chairman of the Swindon Branch of the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust.

"There are a lot of misconceptions," he said. "We want to put these right and give the people of Swindon the opportunity to get the true facts.

"A lot of silly things are being said like the canal will fill up with shopping trolleys.

"The survey includes the cost of keeping the canal clean.

"There is also the misconception that the canal will be a cause of flooding but the exact opposite is true."

The proposed direction of the canal had changed from the original route because of sewers and telephone cables underneath, said Mr Cartwright.

He says developers should help pay for the £50m scheme, as they will benefit from it.

Mr Cartwright predicts that it will generate £8m for the economy every year.

David Sheppard, from Rodbourne, studied the plans in the trust's premises.

"I think the canal is a brilliant idea," he said.

"We want to bring the water back to Swindon to make it a tourist spot.

"Most places have a water feature, which makes them appealing. Swindon lost its water feature years ago."

Trust member John Minns said he believed the canal, which was built to transport coal to the town from Somerset, would materialise.

"It will happen," he said.

"In the last year the canal project has moved from something that might happen to something that will happen."

Trust branch chief executive Ken Oliver estimated that the project would take five years to complete.

"We are inviting people to come in and let us know what they think," he said.