ONE of Swindon’s showpiece development projects has had the brakes put on it because of the recession.

The Regent Place complex is a £215m scheme, which was unveiled by Modus Properties last September.

Due for completion by 2013, the development is expected to feature a 100,000sq ft Debenhams store, as well as retail and leisure units, 170 city-style apartments and 800 car parking spaces.

But now the scheme on the site of what is currently the Granville Street car park has been put on hold.

Peter James, the chief executive of the New Swindon Company, said that a lack of demand in the retail sector, plus the current credit squeeze, had made it very difficult for large-scale development to proceed in the current market.

He said: “It has been very well documented throughout the press that developers have been finding it increasingly difficult to proceed with such schemes as Regent Place, which makes them uneconomical.

“Modus, who are suffering like the rest of the industry, have taken measures to ensure their business survives.

“This has meant that certain assets have been disposed of and certain schemes postponed.

“I am pleased to say that Modus are fully committed to a development in Swindon, though there is no doubt that the timescale previously envisaged will not be met.

“Unfortunately, it is impossible to say when it will get back on track as this depends on when the economy moves out of recession and the property industry regains its equilibrium.”

Referring to BHS’s plans to demolish its existing store to make way for a larger structure that would extend on to the existing King Street and John Street car park, Mr James added: “We need to ensure that any development meets our aspirations for the stepped change in the town centre we all want.

“The development of the BHS site into a new BHS, and a further six smaller units, highlights the change in development that the credit crisis has brought about.”

Coun Phil Young, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said that although this was disappointing, the regeneration scheme was very much alive.

He said: “We are in talks with Modus to see what timescales they have in mind.

We have seen how regeneration schemes all over the country have had a slow down, and Swindon is not immune.

“This is a setback, but it will not stop us from moving forward.”

Coun Young said that the Muse Developments plan to deliver the £350m Union Square scheme was still on track. The plan includes offices and homes, as well as shops, restaurants, cafes and a new hotel.

“Muse Developments are moving forward to develop plans which they will submit before the planning committee later this year,” said Coun Young.

“They are on schedule to begin construction by 2010.”

He added that the council was pleased with plans for Regent Circus.

Details are expected to be announced later this week for a supermarket chain to secure a deal for the site.

There will also be a seven- screen cinema and restaurants.