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Heritage community backs Council’s vision for Railway Village
Swindon Borough Council has submitted a bid to Historic England for permission to establish a Heritage Action Zone at the Railway Village.
The exciting initiative could see one of the town’s most significant heritage assets given a new lease of life.
The scheme, which has proved a success in a number of places across the country, is intended to present the Council, in partnership with local stakeholders, with an innovative way of managing heritage assets to help deliver economic growth.
If successful, councillors can hope to access funding and expertise from Historic England to promote Swindon’s history; to see improvements made to assets including the GWR Park, the Community Centre and the Health Hydro; to acquire additional support for securing a viable future for under-used and vacant listed buildings; and to launch a campaign to promote the site as a destination for tourists.
And the area encompassing the Outlet Centre and Railway Village, which includes the Mechanics’ Institute, the Carriage Works and the Health Hydro, has been chosen by the Council and its partners as a suitable candidate for Heritage Action Zone status.
The bid has the firm backing of Swindon’s heritage community.
Daniel Rose, Director of the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, said: “The Trust is pleased to be part of this exciting bid to become a Heritage Action Zone, focused around the internationally significant Railway Village, an area much loved by local people.
“As an organisation which works on the ground in the area every day, and has responsibility for several buildings, we believe our involvement brings an important dimension to any success from the proposed projects in the bid.
“It has been positive to be working in joint partnership with Swindon Borough Council on the creation of the application and, whether the bid is successful or not, the new relationships and joint working will not be wasted. We hope to continue efforts to focus time and energy on Swindon's most important heritage area.”
Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “I am thrilled to say that the bid has been submitted and I would like to thank everybody who has been involved with putting it together.
“If we are successful, we can expect to see significant improvements made to one of our most treasured heritage assets, which will ensure it thrives for years to come.”
The Council can expect to hear if the bid has been successful by November of this year.