AN innovative ‘living’ green wall is central to a £3m town centre regeneration proposal and a long-term response to the economic crisis.

This is according to councillor Philip Young, who believes that by putting the town on the map as one of the first places to have one will bring people and consequently money to the town.

Swindon would be following in the footsteps of Paris and other cities around the world with the living green wall, which is a free-standing wall or part of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation.

Other plans for Canal Walk include new paving, landscaping, street furniture, public art and lighting and relocating the Jubilee Clock to the station and replacing it with a work of art.

The regeneration, costing around £3.2m, will be funded by the Government’s Growth Point Funds, which was set up to support regeneration of towns and cities in the UK. Coun Young said: “We think greenery helps bring the town centre back to life and makes it a much more pleasant place to be and make people come into the town even if it’s just to see it.

“We’re trying to encourage investment from businesses already in the town and attract others in.”

Coun Young gave the Wharf Green regeneration and the new library as examples of how efforts to improve an area can galvanise businesses and create employment. He said: “McDonald’s felt that before Wharf Green was done, it was dragging the area down. That gave them the confidence to invest in their units there.

“There will be some people that love it, some that hate it, but it gets people talking about the town centre.”

The green wall is also part of a wider initiative to re-introduce greenery all over Swindon.

Nick Conder, project manager for public realm at the New Swindon Company, said: “You look at some of other competitive towns, Bristol and Winchester, there is a lot more greenery per square metre.”

Exhibitions will be held at the Brunel Centre today from 10am until 4.30pm, and Saturday from 10am until 1.30pm.