A CRUNCH meeting has been arranged to finally agree a solution to the Locarno.

Developer Steve Rosier is to meet with the council on August 9, when they expected to pick one of a selection of options for the crumbling icon’s future.

The closed meeting, which is being held at the Civic Offices, will be overseen by council chief executive Gavin Jones and will see them whittle down a shortlist of proposals to something that suits both parties, which can then be worked into a new planning application.

If successful, a new application could be on the table in as soon as a month later said Mr Rosier.

But if not, he will probably renew his £1m-plus court action against the council in response to it turning down his hotel blueprints, and start pursuing his plans for demolishing the historic building again.

“It’s just looking at the Locarno and doing lots of ‘what ifs’. What if we reduce the height of the building? What if we have this use, or that use?” he said.

“We’re just exploring, so we can all agree what is the scheme that allows us to secure financial viability and bank finance. We’ll run through each of those possible options. It’s seven or eight variations, looking at what we can find.

“I think now we’ve got the senior management of Swindon applying themselves to focus on the Locarno and find a solution, so we can all agree what it is we think will get the site started. I’m optimistic that’ll be the case.”

But there are consequences if nothing gets resolved.

“We’re either going to come out of that meeting with a shared focus and direction or not,” said Mr Rosier.

“And if not, I guess that puts us back to where we were.”

In the meantime, although he said he is expecting a result from the meeting, Mr Rosier said he will appeal the council’s refusal of his hotel plans at the start of the year because the cut-off point for doing so is August 8.

Veteran ward councillor Mike Bawden (Con, Old Town and Lawn) said: “My view is quite simply we need to resolve this problem as quickly as possible.

“I think, this is my gut feeling, the public around Old Town are looking for a much smaller development than the original plans, so we may be looking at three to four stories, rather than seven to eight.”

Mr Rosier warned that such a reduced scheme would not be viable.

The cabinet’s regeneration head Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms) was called, but could not be reached.