As Swindon Borough Council takes the Fleming Way improvement plans on the road to answer locals' questions, it has become clear that many still need convincing. 

News that representatives from contractor Colas, and council officers would be visiting sites around Swindon for members of the public to attend and ask questions sparked an intense debate on the Swindon Advertiser Facebook page.

Some expressed frustration and disappointment about the project's implementation and the allocation of funds, and others questioned its viability considering the perceived state of the town centre.

Dan Lightbody questioned the priorities of Swindon Borough Council suggesting that fixing potholes in existing roads should have taken precedence over the Bus Boulevard project. 

"How about using some of that money to fix the potholes in the existing roads first?" He said. 

"But no, SBC in their infinite wisdom decided to plough ahead with a pointless and useless endeavour. Fix the existing infrastructure before adding more rubbish on, it’s our money you’re spending."

The council has previously answered this specific query, stating that the government grant that has contributed to the majority of the £33million project was earmarked specifically for transport regeneration and could not be used for something else. 

The local authority added that had Swindon Borough Council not bid for and won it, it would have gone to another town or city. 

That being said, some have questioned the design of the Bus Boulevard.

Richard Clark said: "I still think our new council should redesign it. It’s not solving anything in fact it’s making it worse. You get off one bus in Fleming Way, then have to cross flowerbeds, bushes and trees to get to your next bus before it drives off."

Others have questioned why investing in a transport hub to the town centre was necessary when the town centre isn't appealing to visitors. 

Karen Benton suggested there is a lack of quality shops in the town.

She said: "What a waste of money. What is the point when there are no decent shops to go into town for to start with - just a dirty old town that needs knocking down with decent shops to go in."

Alison Potter echoed this sentiment.

You have to have a reason to get off the bus, ie. bring the high street back. The town centre is not a shopping centre anymore, save the money until charges on the rentals are affordable and bring back the shops."

Kylie Holt drew attention to two eyesores in Swindon, stating that these would put off any potential visitors.

"If I was a visitor to Swindon, two things in town would make me want to turn around and leave again - 1. The train station looks rough, and then 2. the state of the old Debenhams building." 

When asked what it was doing to improve the town centre, Swindon Borough Council has said it's hands are tied as it doesn't control business rates, and most of the currently empty units are privately owned. 

Some members of the public were more positive about the project.

Paul Fallows said: "I think it's worth it to get rid of that disgusting tunnel to get into the shopping area."

Others defended Swindon's town centre, like Dave Woods who highlighted a list of different retailers on offer there.

"For those that say the town is dead or dying obviously haven't been recently. I often pop in but particularly went in for a few things on Saturday and it was busy," he said.

Fleming Way, a major road through the town centre, is expected to remain closed until autumn 2024 after shutting completely to motorists in September 2022.