THE OWNER of the dilapidated Mechanics' Institute in the Railway Village has applied to sell alcohol in the listed building.

Swindon Council's licensing panel will consider Mathew Singh's application today as well as two objections from Railway Village residents and The New Mechanics' Trust.

Three planning applications submitted by Mr Singh's company, Forefront Estates, to transform the building in Emlyn Square have already been rejected.

He has applied for the right to sell alcohol from 8am to 2am daily, extending to 3am on Friday and Saturday, anywhere in the building.

He also seeks to play live music daily at any time between 8am to 11.30pm.

Swindon Council have yet to decide whether it will consider one resident's objections depending on their distance from the building.

Council officers also question whether opposition from the New Mechanics Institution Preservation Trust is valid.

"The overall sentiment of the letter from the trust appears to be that no one other than the trust should be permitted to bring the Mechanics' Institute into use," said the council committee paper.

Mr Singh says the licensing application is necessary to get plans to regenerate the building up and running.

He said the application would be used as a broad outline for development of the building.

"This is only a broad outline application and when we get to the point of developing the building we can go back to it," Mr Singh said. "Everybody I have spoken to has not objected to this application, including the police.

"It's not as though I'm doing anything that hasn't been done before. There is nothing new here as the Mechanics' has previously had a licence to sell alcohol."

Daniel Rose, chairman of The New Mechanics' Trust, said: "There is no justification for that level of licensing in the fully residential area of the Railway Village.

"It is not an appropriate area for that level of entertainment and noise."

London Street resident Martha Parry, who also works for the trust, says drunken people leaving the development late at night would create a disturbance.

Mr Singh's latest planning application to knock down the north flytower of the Mechanics and build a 104-bedroom hotel, offices and retail units was rejected by Swindon Council earlier this year.

More than 500 people have signed a petition to back Mr Singh's plans.