A PEDESTRIAN plaza at Swindon train station will start to take shape after legal documents were signed off.

The £1.75m station forecourt is mostly funded by council taxpayers, and work was meant to have begun in spring.

Several months later, it looks as though it will be the first in a string of delayed regeneration projects in the town centre to get moving.

Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms), cabinet member in charge of regeneration, said: “I gather there was a meeting last week with the construction company and they’re ready to start. It is ready to go. I’d expect it to be in September.

“All these things seem to be taking longer than we hope. But in the end, they do happen.”

In a statement, Forward Swindon, the council’s regeneration wing, said it would happen even earlier.

It read: “We are expecting work to start on site by the end of the month.

“At the moment all the last minute health and safety agreements and other building forms are being sorted, but these are not envisaged to take more than a few weeks for the various parties to complete.”

Coun Mark Dempsey (Lab, Parks), Garry Perkins’ opposite number on the shadow cabinet, said: ”People feel frustrated that it’s taken so long to secure. But it’s vital as part of a wider vision for regeneration that we give people a better view of Swindon, and a pathway into the town centre.

“At the moment as people come out of the station they don’t know where the town centre is. It doesn’t give them a good first impression of Swindon.”

When the diggers start work, taxis will move to Gloucester Street.

But not everyone is convinced it will make a difference.

Andrew Kilpatrick, managing director of Commercial Road business property firm Kilpatrick and Co, said: “I’m not convinced that by putting down a lot of extra paving it’s going to change that much.

“Personally, if I come to Swindon by train one of my first desires would be to get into a taxi as soon as possible, rather than stand outside in a plaza with occasional seating and little sprogs of trees popping up.

“Any improvement is to be welcomed. But in the overall scheme of things I don’t think it’ll have a major impact. I hope I’m wrong, because someone is spending a lot of money on it.”

Of the £1.75m, £1.4m is from the council. The remainder is from a government grant won by Network Rail.