THE company charged with demolishing the former Swindon College building has pledged it has overcome the last hurdle delaying the development.

Ashfield Land director Andrew Fisher yesterday announced the company had bought the remaining shares in development firm Regent Circus Ltd – which was originally set up to oversee the much delayed project.

It had been jointly owned by Ashfield Land and former venture partners Parkridge Retail Ltd, but the latter was liquidated in August.

Bristol-based Ashfield Land yesterday bought the remaining 50 per cent shares in Regent Circus Ltd and will now press ahead with the massive redevelopment scheme alone. It has said the much maligned building will be torn down before the end of the year.

On a separate planning topic, fellow company director James Digby has said the issue of bats living in the dilapidated college building was no longer causing a delay to the project and they will be rehoused in due course.

The £50m scheme will see the scrap land in the town centre transformed with a 52,000 sq ft Morrisons superstore, eight restaurants plus bars, a 30,000 sq ft six-screen cinema, 450-space car park, and offices.

It was also announced that Ask is the first national restaurant chain to lease a unit.

Mr Fisher said: “We have successfully negotiated with the liquidators PWC to acquire the 50 per cent share of the development company held by our former joint venture partners.

“This is excellent news because it ends any uncertainty associated with the Regent Circus scheme and means we can now press ahead with the regeneration of a key area of Swindon town centre.

“We are of course very pleased that Morrisons has committed to anchor the scheme, while we confidently expect to be able to announce the operators of the multi-screen cinema shortly.

“We also have a great deal of interest from national restaurant chains.

“To have so many inquiries from major retailers demonstrates how attractive the Regent Circus development is and the appeal of a rejuvenated town centre in Swindon.”

On the issue of bats, Mr Digby said: “The bat survey is just one of the very many technical surveys we, as developers, have to undertake under the legal requirements we have to adhere to.

“There is a legal requirement to survey and then to rehouse the bats. The matter is in hand and they will be rehoused in due course. It will not delay the development.”

Ashfield Land acquired the freehold for the site in 2006 and facilitated Swindon College’s relocation to a new £17m campus in North Star.

For more information on the scheme visit