The owners of a long-established Swindon town centre restaurant which was set to close last year remain in the dark over how long they can continue trading.

Owners of The Octagon, Heidi and Jon Flitcroft, were told by Swindon Borough Council they would need to close the eatery as part of the Fleming Way improvement scheme.

The multi-million pound project will ultimately see the bus station close, the building knocked down and more public open spaces and cycle lanes added to the town the centre.

But the day before the planned closure of the restaurant in New Bridge Close, the council told the pair they could keep trading, gave them a year long lease and said they would not need to pay rent.

Heidi said: “We are here until they pull it down, we had a year guarantee put onto the lease and it’s a day-by-day, week-by-week thing. Obviously, they don’t know when the work will be done and when the bus station will be pulled down, so it’s a matter of when they know anything, we will know.

“We can see what’s going on with Fleming Way from where we are, so we have a bit of an idea of timescale. When it comes down to it hopefully we are given enough notice to move somewhere else or sell the equipment.”

Swindon Advertiser: Jon and Heidi FlitcroftJon and Heidi Flitcroft (Image: Dave Cox)

The Octagon has been a prominent part of the town centre for 40 years and Heidi and Jon have managed the business since 2018 – surviving several lockdowns and subsequent financial hardship.

Heidi said: “The council offered us a lifeline by allowing us to stay open. We rely on regulars and we are still very busy.”

Despite the uncertainty, the couple are currently preparing for a busy summer period.

“We are still open Monday to Friday at the moment but hopefully when the weather picks up, we will look into opening on Saturdays as well and trial it to see if it’s worthwhile," Heidi added.

They have also had to be realistic about the future of the restaurant and are considering their options if they do have to close for good this year.

“It would depend on where we’re at financially in terms of deciding if we relocate or cease trading,” Heidi explained.

“Ideally if we did move it would be a bit more out of town.

"It’s nice where we are because we’re the only thing here, so we don’t have as many competitors, but in town you have to work against everyone. We would have to see what’s around locally.”