REGENERATION in Swindon will move forward in 2010 – and we will finally see the demolition of the old Swindon College building.

This is according to council leader Rod Bluh, who said progress will be made in 2010, despite increased constraints on the council’s budget.

He said multi-million pound projects to spruce up the town centre will be unveiled and work on the route from Swindon’s railway station into the centre will begin.

But Coun Bluh admitted that all eyes will be on Swindon’s most famous eyesore – the old Swindon College site at Regent Circus, which has been vacant since 2006.

He said: “I know people are waiting to see what will happen with the old college building and I am as eager as anyone else to see that move forward, but we have to make sure it is done right.

“I am confident that we are getting much closer to that point. The scheme that is being presented to us is acceptable.

“The residential element is out and the hotel is out. There has been a lot of discussion going on behind the scenes to get this right.”

A planning application for the site, which will now centre around a cinema and supermarket, is expected to be put forward by developers Ashfield Land early in 2010.

Coun Bluh said it will not be the only sign of regeneration in the town centre.

He said: “We will have the public realm work in Canal Walk completed, with the water feature and we also have the work on Regent Street starting.

“I really feel it is going to make a big difference to how people view the town centre.”

Coun Bluh confirmed that the Jubilee Clock, which once stood at the junction of Canal Walk and Regent Street, will find a new home at Swindon railway station.

He said: “That will be very exciting.

“We are aware that we need to improve the image of the town that people get when they walk out of the railway station.

“That will be another important project for 2010.”

Despite the collapse of the scheme to redevelop the Granville Street car park, Coun Bluh said Swindon was still bucking the national trend in launching high-profile regeneration schemes.

He said: “We have the Union Square development going ahead, the town centre improvements already started, the BHS scheme secured and the work on the college expected to start in the summer. To secure anyone of those deals in the current climate would be seen as an achievement.

“As a national newspaper reporter told me, he used to shrug his shoulders when Swindon was mentioned, whereas now his ears prick up.”