Successful £5m funding bid will transform four Carriage Works units into business hub

SWINDON has secured £5 million of government funding to help bring a historic railway site back to life.

The Town’s Fund Board celebrated another successful bid for cash which will create new uses for four units of Brunel’s Grade II-listed former Carriage Works.

The London Street site has already been partly restored as a business incubation centre and Cultural Heritage Institute for the Royal Agricultural University, but much of it has lain empty because other revamps proved too expensive for private sector investment to cover.

The Towns Fund investment from the government will refurbish units eight, 10, 12 and 13 in the West Shed to create around 1,951 sq m of new office space for creative and digital small and medium-sized businesses, and pay for any necessary structural work.

It will open up a vacant heritage asset for re-use as a commercial premises which will generate an additional estimated £23.9m of economic benefit over the next 25 years to Swindon’s economy, and generate a rental return for the council.

Board chairman Richard Newland said: “I was fortunate enough to be given a tour of the Carriage Works recently and it was fantastic to see the work that has already been done to sympathetically bring an important local landmark back into modern use, while still maintaining the external Victorian character of the building.

“This latest funding from the government will help us deliver more of the same and allow the businesses of the future to connect with the town’s rich railway heritage.

“I’d like to thank all the members of the Towns Fund Board for their work in scrutinising the businesses cases for both the Carriage Works and Kimmerfields projects, which have secured £11m to benefit the town centre’s regeneration.”

This comes after the Swindon’s Towns Fund Board obtained £6m from the government to kick-start a flagship regeneration scheme at Kimmerfields in the town centre.

Swindon Borough Council is a member of the board.

Council leader David Renard said: “It is really wonderful news that the government has recognised Swindon’s potential by awarding us this money.

“By bringing the four Carriage Works units back into use, we are not only preserving and enhancing an important heritage building, but also creating an inclusive shared business environment for creative and digital SMEs, which is a flagship component of Swindon’s Heritage Action Zone.

“It is another example of how the council is using government funding to stimulate the town centre’s visitor economy and generate activity along London Street, encouraging journeys on foot from the railway station and town centre to the Heritage Action Zone.”

Swindon Advertiser | News