Government approves funding to unlock major town centre regeneration site
A major brownfield site in Swindon town centre is a step closer to being redeveloped after the Government approved £6m in infrastructure funding.
Published: Tuesday, 21st December 2021
Kimmerfields, which connects the town’s railway station with the wider town centre, will undergo a radical transformation over the next decade with the site set to deliver 100,000 sq ft of high quality office space, up to 450 homes and a Cultural Quarter featuring a new theatre, media arts centre and art pavilion.
The latest funding announcement is part of over £100M of Swindon Borough Council-led investment in town centre projects over the next four years, the majority of which has been secured though successful funding bids to central Government.
Swindon Towns Fund Board, of which the Council is a member, was told the news about the successful funding bid at its latest meeting on Friday (17 Dec). Kimmerfields is one of six projects identified by the Board, which will bid for a share of £19.5m from the Government’s Towns Fund.
The redevelopment of the 20-acre Kimmerfields site was made possible after the Council acquired the land in March last year and the regeneration is already underway with the construction of Zurich’s new £38m offices. Work to create a new bus interchange on the adjacent Fleming Way is also set to begin next year.
Investing in transport links and the public realm around the Kimmerfields site is recognised as being key to unlocking its commercial viability, attracting third party investment in new homes, amenities and employment space.
A total of £16.5m will be invested in a new access road and roundabout from Corporation Street, while the funding will also enable new estate roads, landscaping and improvements to the public realm and green space.
Utilities infrastructure including drainage, electricity, and telecoms will also be installed, de-risking any future investment.
Of the £16.5m being spent on the Kimmerfields project, £9.5m is being provided by the Council with a further £1m having already been secured from the Government.
Economic analysis shows that the Kimmerfields development is likely to generate an additional £44m of economic benefit over the next 25 years to Swindon’s local economy.
The redeveloped site will complement the wider regeneration of the town centre by increasing land values in the local area, which will in turn encourage further investment by the private sector. By opening up offices, residential and cultural spaces it will also increase footfall, and subsequent spending throughout the daytime and into the evening.
Kimmerfields will be developed in three phases, with the first phase set to get underway next year with the creation of a new roundabout off Corporation Street and improvements to the roads leading into the development to enable access to the new Zurich offices. Preparatory work also took place last summer to decontaminate and clear the site.
Richard Newland, chairman of the Swindon Towns Fund Board, said: “The Government has demonstrated its confidence in Swindon by approving this £6m funding bid for the Kimmerfields site and I am delighted as the Towns Fund Board submitted a really robust business case.
“The money we have secured from the Government, together with the funding provided by the Council, means we can put all the utility pipes and services in the ground, carry out the landscaping work, build the access roads, and make it as attractive as possible for the private sector to invest.
“Much of the enabling work will go unseen by the public, but it will play a key role in kick-starting regeneration in this part of town.”
Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “The Kimmerfields site has sat empty for a number of years because it hasn’t been financially viable for the private sector to develop it. Now, thanks to the Council acquiring all the various parcels of land, we are now in a position to see this brownfield site redeveloped.
“Hundreds of new homes, brand new offices and a new theatre and cultural facilities will not only increase land values in the town centre to encourage future private investment, it will also increase the number of people visiting the town centre, night and day, and that will have a hugely positive knock-on effect for the rest of the town centre.”