Four empty and unsightly blocks of flats in Queens Drive will soon be knocked down.

In their place a mixture of 34 new houses and 68 flats will be constructed as part of Swindon Borough Council’s £34m redevelopment of the major site in central Swindon.

Work has already started on the 32 flats and 15 houses on the site of the former George Gay Gardens sheltered housing and the next phase of redevelopment is imminent.

The blocks to be knocked down are the four T-shaped three-storey blocks south of Wolsely Avenue.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, the borough council’s cabinet member for housing said: “This £34m project delivers much needed, affordable housing in Swindon through the council’s biggest housing regeneration scheme to date.

“These homes have been designed both to reflect the railway heritage - the gable ends for example, are based on the widths of the former engine sheds used to house, repair and maintain trains - and to be modern, efficient and well-developed homes for the future.

“They will be light and airy to live in.

“This scheme has been designed so that people will be happy and comfortable living there.

“Along with the housing, we’ve taken steps to ensure that the homes are as climate friendly as possible by using solar panels and triple glazing, as well as taking steps to ensure the local wildlife continues to thrive with the help of 56 new bird boxes.

“I understand the importance of investing in our local communities and building good quality, affordable housing in Swindon is a top priority for this council.”

The entire scheme at Queens Drive will see 149 new homes built on the site.

Of those units, 76 will be let at an affordable rent, 32 will be traditional social ‘council’ flats and houses, 17 made available under the government’s shared ownership scheme and 24 let or sold at the market rate. Affordable rent is classified as being no higher than 80 per cent of the current market rates.

Labour councillor s in Swindon have previously said the more of the scheme should be let out as social housing.

The opposition group has pledged to build 1,000 new council houses in the borough if it takes control of the council.