Kimmerfields and Carriage Works projects in Swindon attract £11 million government funding

kimmerfields

Two infrastructure projects in Swindon have been awarded a total of £11 million through the government’s Towns Fund.

The government announced two bids submitted by Swindon Towns Fund Board had been successful.

The first was for the redevelopment of the 20-acre Kimmerfields site between Swindon railway station and the town centre. The flagship development was awarded £6 million.

The second was for the regeneration of Brunel’s Grade II-listed former Carriage Works, for which £5 million has been secured.

The regeneration of the Kimmerfields site is already underway, with the construction of a new £38 million headquarters for insurance giant Zurich.

Work to create a new bus interchange on the adjacent Fleming Way is also set to begin next year.

A total of £16.5 million is being 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.

Of the £16.5 million being spent on the Kimmerfields project, £9.5m is being provided by Swindon Council with a further £1 million having already been secured from the government.

Utilities infrastructure including drainage, electricity, and telecoms will also be installed, de-risking any future investment.

Economic analysis shows that the Kimmerfields development is likely to generate an additional £44 million 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 later this 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.”

The Kimmerfields announcement was quickly followed by one about the Carriage Works.

The government awarded the Towns Fund Board £5 million to bring four units of Brunel’s Grade II-listed former Carriage Works, which falls within the newly-designated Heritage Action Zone, back into viable use.

The building, located on London Street opposite the Mechanics’ Institute, has been partly restored as a business incubation centre and Cultural Heritage Institute for the Royal Agricultural University, but much of it has lain empty as it was too costly to be brought forward through private sector investment.

The Towns Fund investment will expand on the regeneration works to date to refurbish units 8, 10, 12, and 13 in the West Shed to create approximately 1,951 sq m of new office space for creative and digital SMEs, including the necessary structural works.

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

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 maintaining the external Victorian character of the building.

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

Councillor 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.”