A YEAR after developers revealed their plans for a dramatic £350m regeneration of the town centre the work is about to begin.

Muse Development, which was selected to come up with a scheme for regenerating Union Square, is due to start work on the first phase of the development by the end of this month.

The £25m first phase, which has received detailed approval from Swindon Council, focuses on the site of the former police station and includes an 850-space car park and 45 assisted living apartments.

In the past year commuters have already seen a start to the regeneration process with the controversial transformation of the Whalebridge roundabout. The £4m project saw the roundabout and four subways, next to Jurys Inn, in Fleming Way, filled in and replaced with a plaza and a network of one-way routes and bus lanes as part of the Union Square regeneration.

The scheme aimed to make it easier for people to walk between areas within the centre, for example, across Princes Street and Fleming Way, between the shops and Union Square and the theatre, without barriers, but has caused a headache for many drivers.

The next phase of the development, which is expected to start in the last week of May, is due to run for approximately 15 months.

People in the town have welcomed the development and are glad that after years of talking about regeneration, it is finally getting started.

Sales assistant, Ian Marsh, 23, of the town centre, said: “I walk through this way to work every day, so it will be interesting to see what will change.

“I have not seen the plans, but I am hoping it will look nicer than it does now, which shouldn’t be hard.

“I think the sooner they bring the bus station down, the better.”

Elsa Green, 37, a cleaner, of Pinehurst, said: “You can see things changing already with the roads and the new park, but a lot more needs to be done.

“This area is not the nicest, but it is good to see something being done about it.”

Coun Garry Perkins said: “It’s good. It’s what we’ve been waiting for, everybody in the town has been waiting for – for the hoardings to come down and for the buildings to start progressing – and it cannot happen soon enough.

“And it’s good to see this investment in Swindon and obviously Muse and other developers believe in Swindon’s future, the fact they are now building it out.”

During the construction of the first phase, Muse expects to submit a reserved matters application for phase two, which focuses on the car park diagonally opposite Jurys Inn and will mostly be comprised of commercial offices.