A MILESTONE in the town centre regeneration will be reached next week when department store BHS moves into its new state-of-the-art home.

The store moved into the former Woolworths premises in Regent Street back in January last year as the bulldozers moved in to demolish its previous shop in The Parade as part of the £25m overhaul of the town centre.

The new 45,000sq ft concept store will be nestled next to the brand new Topshop, Topman and River Island stores.

A note advising customers of the impending move next Thursday has been put up in the Regent Street shop window.

Brian Morris, manager of The Parade, said: “We’re looking forward to the opening of BHS next month and it will be great to welcome them back to The Parade after a year of being in Regent Street.

“The new building looks great and BHS will be returning to the area at a very exciting time – with some great new names like Topshop and Topman and the expansion of River Island, as well as our other top retailers.

“The new development is in a very busy area and is a draw for shoppers in the town centre. And I believe the opening of BHS will have a huge impact on footfall in The Parade – increasing the number of people who enjoy shopping here.”

Swindon Council granted planning permission in May 2009, enabling development partners UK Commercial Property Trust and Shearer Property Group to proceed with the project – to create a new shopping facility the same size as two football pitches.

The move made headlines in April last year when the part of the former BHS store, which was being demolished, collapsed and forced the evacuation of nearby shops.

No-one was injured, but The Parade, Bridge Street and Regent Street were partially blocked to pedestrians while the building was made safe.

The original BHS building consisted of two floors of retail space, plus an additional floor for storage and office space.

The property shares a party wall with the clothing shop Monsoon and the Britannia Building Society, both of whom have remained trading throughout the project.

Despite the positive news, fears have been raised about what will happen to the old Woolies store once BHS have vacated it.

It is hoped that it will be snapped up by another high street retailer and not remain as an empty town centre store.