Developers and Swindon Borough Council are keen to encourage more people to live in the town centre.

In particular, the end of the shopping centre nearer the railway station around Fleet Street and Bridge Street are seen as primary areas for introducing more residential properties.

But not everyone in the area feels entirely the same.

The borough council has recently given permission to developer Andrew Thomas from Malmesbury to convert a disused nightclub building, built in the 19th century, into two five-bed shared houses and 10 flats.

It is also considering his plan to convert the ornately-fronted building into a 34-person shared house of multiple occupation.

Just yards away the art deco 1930 former Burton building on the corner of Fleet and Bridge Street already has approval for conversion into eight flats on the upper two storeys, although work doesn’t appear to have started in the two years since the plans were okayed.

There have been proposals approved to knock down closed club lava Lounge for flats in Fleet Street and redevelop the site of the Casbah in John Steet in the area, again for apartments.

Some in the area think it’s a good plan for the area.

IT worker Dora Said said: “They need to do something with this area, it’s pretty grim now.  I only come here on my way if I need to get to the railway station.

“But some of these buildings are beautiful. I could see that people would like to live in them, and if they felt safe and there were better shops and nice places to go, it would be really convenient for town and could be a nice place.”

Teacher Joe Lane agreed, with some caveats: “If young people came to live here then that would probably turn it around.

"But I don’t know if you’d get the people who will afford what these flats will cost if it looked like this. So it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

“It needs to look better to attract the people who might make it better. But if they can make it work, it could be really good for young professionals.”

Not all agreed. 

Rowan Martins said: “I’m not sure about this. There’s no parking and its flats in the town centre, so there are no gardens or anything.

"It might be okay for students and people who are starting their first job maybe but not families.”