Work to refurbish and improve the outside of a historic town centre building has begun as part of a £7 million project.

Scaffolding has been erected around the Health Hydro on Milton Road so that repairs can be carried out on the roofs, stonework, and windows.

The Swindon Borough Council-owned leisure centre closed earlier this year and extensive surveys have been completed in preparation for the revamp.

When the work is finished, the Health Hydro will have improved changing facilities, a new entrance and fitness suite in the former washing baths hall, and a new mechanical, electrical and plumbing plant system to service the main pool.

The funding for this first phase has come from the local authority, the government’s Towns Fund, and Historic England.

Swindon Advertiser: The Health Hydro's roofs, windows and stonework will be repairedThe Health Hydro's roofs, windows and stonework will be repaired (Image: Dave Cox)

Further funding is needed for the £5.7m second phase, so a £4.6m grant bid has been submitted to the National Heritage Lottery Fund. The success of the first stage of this bid will be revealed in March 2024.

Cllr Marina Strinkovsky, cabinet member for heritage, art, and culture, said: “This bid signals a new era and wave of optimism for Swindon’s heritage and marks an important milestone for the restoration and regeneration of this building.

“The Hydro is an important landmark for the town, one we want to see restored to its former glory and available for future generations to enjoy.

“We have embarked on developing a new Heritage Plan, which will chart our next priorities for unlocking the value and opportunities from Swindon’s rich heritage, including the Hydro, the rest of the Railway Village, and the borough as a whole.”

The project will repair and insulate the main pool hall roof, improve the building’s environmental performance, undertake conservation work on the spectator gallery and stained-glass window, and showcase the building’s history.

Swindon Advertiser: External work has started on a £6.9 million project to refurbish and improve the Health Hydro

Andrea Christmas, from the Friends of the Health Hydro group, said: “We are fully supportive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid for the phase two works on the Hydro.

“The improved insulation will see the large pool provide a much better customer experience as well as providing sustainability for the future of this unique building.

“We are delighted that Historic England has awarded £400,000 towards the renovation of the Health Hydro.

“The funds will be used to provide some much-needed improvements to the frontage of this important building, which has served the health and well-being of people in Swindon for 130 years.

“Together, these renovations will be helping to ensure that the Health Hydro can serve the people of Swindon for many more years.”