ONE of Swindon’s most recognisable empty units is set to be brought back to life.

Go Outdoors has confirmed it will move to the former Toys R Us site in Oxford Road after closing its store in Ocotal Way store.

The latter will remain open until early next year but when it shuts for good staff will be moving to a new flagship store for the company next to the A419 and A420.

The toy giant went out of business in 2018, leaving the large unit near Sainsburys abandoned and its future has been the subject of much debate. 

There were tentative plans for Home Bargains to move into the Toys R Us site after the company launched a planning application to take it over.

But that stalled because the retailer needed planning consent for a change of use, in order to sell food and drink in 30 per cent of the store. There were also concerns over highways access. 

Home Bargains has now set its sights on the TK Maxx unit on Great Western Way .
Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for planning Gary Sumner is thrilled something is finally happening at the Toys R Us site. 

“I’m really pleased to see a great company like Go Outdoors not only commit to stay in Swindon, but to take on this high profile building at the gateway to Swindon and the New Eastern Villages,” he said.

“They will bring a very popular retail sector, focussed on a range of outdoors pursuits to an area which will have new walking and cycling routes and I am sure that the new and existing communities will welcome this further boost to Swindon’s economy.”

Ward councillor for Stratton St Margaret Roger Smith has also spoken of the benefits of the move.

He said: “This is very good news for the people of Stratton St Margaret. The former Toys R Us store has been a derelict eyesore for far too long.

"It’s good to see this building being brought back to life with more local jobs. I look forward to the new store opening early next year”

Signs went up around the existing Go Outdoors store last week saying that customers could get 30 per cent off ‘absolutely everything’. 

An email was also sent out to customers which said: “Your Go Outdoors Swindon store is getting a massive refurbishment which will bring you a bigger and better outdoor store for many more years to come with bags more choice. 

“The store will be closing temporarily in the coming months for our makeover, so we are having an onbeatable closing down sale with at least 30 per cent off absolutely everything.*

“Go make the most of it... head on down to our safe and spacious Swindon store now and bag yourself a bargain!”

While this suggests a refurbishment of the existing store, staff told the Adver that they would definitely be leaving that building and moving to the Toys R Us site. 

The agent responsible for the management of the Toys R Us building confirmed talks had taken place with representatives from JD Sports Fashion plc – the parent company that own Go Outdoors – and the retailer yesterday confirmed the move, adding it expected it to take place ‘early next year’.