Brunel’s Carriage Works at the heart of Swindon’s economic comeback

The ongoing regeneration of the Carriage Works is one of the key infrastructure projects at the heart of Swindon’s economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

Published: Friday, 25th September 2020

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Last month, Swindon Borough Council announced that £4m was to be invested in the historic railway works through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, a pot of money for investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to help stimulate jobs and support economic recovery.

The regeneration of the Grade II listed Carriage Works, off Bristol Street, is one of the Council’s key heritage projects, and this cash injection will help secure a sustainable future for the site.

The buildings were part of Brunel’s Great Western Works and were once the largest carriage works in the country, standing at the forefront of Victorian engineering.

So far the Council has invested to create a business incubation hub in the Carriage Works and the Royal Agricultural University will shortly open its Cultural Heritage Institute in another of the units.

The latest funding will be spent in conjunction with the already secured Historic England Funding to complete Phase Two of the Carriage Works regeneration scheme. This will see the development of units 7 and 9 in the main estate and street entrance business units number 6 to 11 London Street, formerly known as the bike sheds.

Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The renovation of the Carriage Works is progressing well and I welcome this extra money from Government which will go towards building high quality office, research and educational space to support the existing ‘Workshed’ and the Royal Agricultural University Cultural Heritage Institute already in-situ at the Carriage Works.”

Earlier this month, the Council launched a campaign to highlight the positive steps taken to encourage investment in the town and to help businesses get back on their feet.

‘Swindon’s bouncing back’ is the clear message from the Council and business leaders as the town begins to step up its economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.

The regeneration of the Carriage Works is a key element in the overall economic rejuvenation of the town and the £4m investment, through the Getting Building Fund, will spearhead the recovery.

Cllr Dale Heenan, Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Heritage and Culture, said: “The past few months have been difficult for residents and businesses right across Swindon, but we will see the town’s economy bounce back.

“Cranes and diggers are on site now to build the first new state-of-the-art offices in Swindon in 20 years, and we have our fingers crossed for success in our £25m Future High Street bid from Government which will revitalise the Fleming way area, and construct a new bus station.

“Historic England and the Council have collaborated on an ambitious five-year plan for Swindon's Heritage which will see the Health Hydro restored to its full glory, and see visible progress on the derelict Mechanics to unlock the economic potential between the Outlet Centre and the town centre by 2025.

“There is also much more going on. The opening of a new Hampton by Hilton Hotel near the train station, the refurbishment of Signal Point by Network Rail, a new £17m Premier Inn and steak house, and next month the Council will publish plans for the future of the Wyvern Theatre and Swindon's Museum and Art gallery. Swindon will be a very different place in 2030."

Paul Moorby OBE, Chair of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “New jobs. New investment. Innovative Thinking. At a challenging time, the Carriage Works provides a much-needed boost to the local economy, faith in our commercial buildings and determination to protect our heritage.

“The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership is pleased to help fund and deliver this project, as part of our regional Local Industrial and Recovery Strategy.”

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