PUT your money where your mouth is – that is the message from Mathew Singh, the owner of the Mechanics’, after claims that the building could be legally prised from his hands.

The businessman said last night that although the Mechanics’ is not on the market he is accepting offers.

On Thursday the Adver published comments by David Potter, the council’s head of planning, who said that Mr Singh had three months to secure the building’s future before the the authority put a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the building.

Mr Potter said that it would cost about £1.5m to update the building to an acceptable standard.

He also said that if Mr Singh missed one deadline in that time the council would reclaim ownership.

However, Mr Singh does not believe it has to come to that point.

He said: “I have repeatedly offered this building to the council but they have always said no to me.

“I am struggling with this because I am here ready to be negotiated with.

“Last year when the council office space lease in Premier House, in Station Road ran out I personally asked Councillor Bluh, the leader of the council, if he wanted to then use the Mechanics’ instead.

“He categorically said no – even though the south side of the building is complete.”

Mr Singh also said that he had sought advice from other councils and colleagues since the article and said many found it ‘very odd’ that a council officer such as Mr Potter would speak out on the matter.

He added: “I would like to know why it is acceptable for a council officer to make statements concerning my case in the newspaper.

“How can I get fair treatment now? I will let the people of Swindon decide whether this three month deadline has anything to do with the upcoming council elections.”

Mr Singh said he was currently looking at whether he will be able to finish the works expected of him.

The council has yet to comment.