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Swindon's Wyvern Theatre set for £80m relocation
Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre could be set for relocation after plans were revealed for a new £80m transformation that would see the towns Kimmerfields site become Swindon’s new ‘Cultural Quarter’.
Under the proposed plans, that are set to be discussed in the Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet meeting taking place on Wednesday 21st October, the Wyvern Theatre would move locations and double in capacity, with the arts centre also being joined by a new state-of-the-art museum and art gallery dubbed the ‘Cultural Quarter’.
The new area would sit close to the towns railway station and be accessible via Swindon’s planned £33m ‘bus boulevard.’
The plans have been funded by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and will enhance the cultural experience currently on offer in Swindon in the hope that it would attract more tourist footfall to the town centre.
An estimated cost of £80m over a current time period of 10 years has been stamped on the project that will also include a dance centre and digital media and arts hub that will display Swindon’s nationally significant art collection.
After an economic impact assessment, the council have concluded that the birth of the new Cultural Quarter will add more than £35m a year to Swindon’s economy and create over 1000 jobs for the local community.
Speaking on the proposal, Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, said:
“When I took over as cabinet member, I made it clear to everyone that there needed to be a focus on fewer, more impactful projects that will make a visible difference to Swindon, and that change doesn’t happen overnight.
“The pieces of the jigsaw are slowly fitting together, with cranes and diggers now on site for the first new office development in 20 years, imminent decisions for £50 million of funding bids for the town centre, a refurbished Health Hydro, completion of the fantastic Carriage Works regeneration, new Hampton by Hilton and Premier Inn hotels and much more.
“Now is the time to present plans for a new Cultural Quarter and build on Swindon’s momentum to ensure that, by 2030, we will see a very different town centre.
“Cabinet’s ambition is to see the building of a new Wyvern Theatre with capacity doubled to 1,200 seats, which will attract the best national and regional shows and performers for residents to enjoy.
“We also want to deliver a new museum and art gallery that proudly displays Swindon’s nationally recognised collection of artefacts and exhibits.
“If approved by Cabinet next week, the next six months will see focus placed on writing the financial business case and investment prospectus, for the £80m needed to bring the Culture Quarter to life.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Swindon and we must grasp it with both hands.”
If given the green light at next weeks council meeting, the plans will be progressed through a partnership approach.