NEW plans are being drawn up to revive Swindon’s beleaguered Mechanics’ Institute, but the council is not revealing what they are.

The council has been in talks with Prince’s Regeneration Trust, Prince Charles’ charity, since early 2010 is discuss a possible rescue plan for the dilapidated building.

However, the local authority would not say what shape this was likely to take and fears have been raised about just what is being concocted for the historic structure behind closed doors.

Dan Rose, head of the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, said the council had shunned talks with him, despite the fact the charity was set up 16 years ago purely in an attempt to preserve the building.

He said his worry was that, in a bid to recoup the money it had lost on the Mechanics’ Institute, the council may draw up a rash commercial solution.

Mr Rose said: “I think it’s very worrying and disappointing there’s this level of secrecy in this situation.

“However, what I’d say is the trust absolutely wants to try and secure a good working relationship with the council. That offer was on the table and is still on the table.

“The thing that has been established and proven in the trust’s favour is things like hotels just aren’t a goer.

“The thing that’s been recognised is there isn’t a commercial solution to this building.

“That doesn’t mean an inappropriate use can’t be given by the council in a rush to try and deal with what is a critically sensitive issue.

“That’s my fear. In the rush to try and tidy up the real mess that’s been created, they’ll end up doing the wrong thing for short-term political gain.”

The issue has come to light now because of questions asked by Mr Rose at the July cabinet meeting.

It is believed the solution sought includes the whole of the largely council-owned Railway Village, but there are no details of what this may involve.

As long ago as April, planning head Dave Potter had said in a council report that the local authority was commissioning the Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

But now the Adver understands the Prince’s Regeneration Trust has been involved since at least early 2010.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust refused to comment and referred the Adver to the council.

In a statement, the council said: “We are in discussions with the Prince’s Regeneration Trust about how to bring about improvements to the Railway Village, as it is a designated conservation area and a site which is of huge historical importance to the town.

“The Prince’s Regeneration Trust is lending its expertise in how to obtain relevant grant funding opportunities for enhancing the Railway Village Conservation Area.

“A report on the outcome of the discussions will be presented to cabinet in due course. We can’t say any more at this stage”.

The report by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust is expected to be presented in September or October.