Readers were split over the announcement that a brownfield site in Swindon town centre is a step closer to being redeveloped after the government approved £6m in funding.

Kimmerfields, which connects the town’s railway station with the wider town centre, will undergo a transformation over the next decade with the site set to deliver 100,000 sq ft of office space, up to 450 homes and a 'cultural quarter' featuring a new theatre, media arts centre and art pavilion.

The latest funding announcement is part of over £100m of Swindon Borough Council-led investment in town centre projects over the next four years, the majority of which has been secured though successful funding bids to central government.

But Adver readers argued about whether more office space is needed in the post-pandemic world of work. 

Here is a selection of comments from Facebook and our website...

Daniel Adams: "Great to see even more money being green lit for investment in the town. No doubt the usual detractors who claim nothing is being done or the wrong things are being done will be negative but in the meantime the council gets on with it. There is huge demand for new offices. Old offices are being converted where economical and old ones are being knocked down for redevelopment. One thing business are looking for is office space in areas outside of traditional office centres and big cities."

Harrison Heath: "More office space? Is this what we need. From my years of being born and bred in this town it’s just another waste of money and space especially at this crucial time."

Paul Godfrey: "Have the SBC not seen what’s happened in the last two years during the pandemic. People were working from home and businesses have realised they don’t need the office space anymore, one company I know of has closed down four office blocks in Swindon alone, three of which were for up to 3,000 workers, new office blocks are not the answer."

Martyn Holmes: "More office space! The new world is WFH and hybrid – no need for new big expensive office spaces anymore."

'TreaclePie': "Offices aren’t dead, they are just transforming. I work in engineering consultancy and whilst we have managed okay during the pandemic WFH the truth is we all recognise the value in getting together to work collaboratively. And I don’t just mean social get together. Knowledge transfer, collaboration, idea sharing all happen much better when in immediate proximity to one another in an organic way. What the WFH future means to me is that the space needed to house a business of a 1,000 office workers can now be achieved in a smaller space. "

'Swinehead': "Unless you are going to put a university in Swindon I wouldn’t bother with any of this. It is a complete waste of time and money. You need a university to attract firms that want to hire new graduates. Most firms these days want to hire graduates and Swindon being like it is at present is never going to attract large numbers of graduates. The council and politicians are to blame for Swindon’s demise and until they recognise this issue they may as well forget it. The thinking in Swindon is so backwards, it’s laughable. Build a university and they will come!"

'pmc1947': "But when will something actually start? Its been 15 years already and all we have to show for it is a new office block and a lot artist impressions."

'Disillusioned123': "The ‘up to 450 homes’ from Kimmerfields is less than a third of the annual housing target for Swindon in the adopted Local Plan, or half of the emerging new Local Plan Review target – it’s a welcome contribution but a drop in the ocean over a 15 or 20 year plan period. To scale this up and deliver a ‘brownfield only’ strategy would only be possible with significant increases in taxation (local and national) to pay for it   something that is simply unrealistic whether you agree with such tax rises or not. There would also have to be a significant uplift in the number of open market dwellings planned to attempt to make up for the lower proportion of affordable dwellings delivered."