20130220-184046.jpgSwindon Borough Council, have been writing consultations again, The Swindon Advertiser reported “Residents want canal back in town centre masterplan” [link].

THE GRAND plan for an overhaul of Swindon town centre could be set to get its own makeover – after consulted residents said they wanted the idea of a canal reinstated.

The majority of about 100 respondents to Forward Swindon’s Masterplan consultation claimed they wanted to see the canal running through the pedestrianised town centre area, while much of the rest of the plan remains unchanged.

The firm have been charged by Swindon Council with regenerating the town, and unveiled its view of the shape of things to come in around 10 to 15 years time, back in September at the Central Library, for public scrutiny.

It enlisted the help of town planners Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners, the architects behind the much-lauded Olympic Park, in Stratford, London, and the proposals include a new performing arts centre, art gallery and a two-way Commercial Road.

The masterplan includes bringing the canal back into the town through North Star as far as a basin adjacent to Station Road but the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust said, crucially, it omits linking this section to the restored canal at Westleaze.

Forward Swindon’s chief executive Ian Piper said all responses from the public had now been analysed and a revised draft was going to be put before the cross-party group of councillors before it goes to full council, potentially in April.

He said: “What is happening at the moment is we have reviewed the consultation responses, which took a little bit longer that we anticipated, and are putting them together to show councillors.

“There was quite a lot of detail in some of the responses, including one that went through the proposal almost line by line, and so we wanted to make sure we considered all of them.

“The level of responses for a consultation of this type was good and the majority of it was positive.

“We had about 80 respondents to the questionnaire and another 15 to 20 letters from organisations.

“We have pencilled in for full council in April and will show councillors the changed draft plan.

“We will also put it to them about what they would like to do about the canal.

“We had a lot of comments on the canal, many supporting it being reinstated on the plans. We will need to talk to members about that as it was not shown on the draft plan.”

The Wilts and Berks canal trust are currently trying to have the following route reinstated:

20130220-184057.jpg

Linking the Kennet and Avon canal near Semington, to the River Thames at Abingdon, with a spur off to the Thames and Severn Canal via the North Wilts Canal (The Thames and Severn Canal is not an active canal).

20130220-184052.jpgAt the moment the Wilts and Berks have restored a short section  between Kingshill Road, and the Motoway (none of the map to the left is built). This section is on the far left of the map, off the end of the blue line at Kingshill Road.

Looking at the proposed route (and from local knowledge) the proposed route from left to right:

  • Shire Court, This is part of the existing alignment,  however this makes up only a very short section, and doesn’t answer how they are to cross one of only two arterial routes between Old Town and the main body of Swindon (this road empties towards west swindon and J16 of the M4).KingsHill
  • Robert le Kyng Primary School and Westcott Place, there is no real alternative to this road, its the main route between the bottom of Kingshill Road and the non West Swindon route into North Swindon.RobertLeKyng
  • The Park / Faringdon Road, main link between the west side of Swindon, North Swindon (non hight restricted west side of town) and Town Center, no alternatives other than Whitehouse Bridge, and Transfer Bridges a mile, and two miles respectively to the east.Farringdon Park
  • At the Railway Village East you may be able to put more traffic onto Bristol Street / London  Street / Station Road to the north, this is mostly one way at the moment. (Farringdon Road / Holbrook Way making the return path).Farringdon Park
  • Fleet Street, this was pedestrianised a few years back, and makes up the main pub strip in ‘New Town’, its ok during the day, but really would not want to live near it at night…
  • Beales Close / Holbrook Way / Flemming Way; this is the bottom of Swindon’s main bus terminus… with this road being the main interchange for traffic going east to west close to the station.  Marina
  • This part is currently a cycle path; and is the ONLY off road link between town and north SwindonCycle Path
Please note that these images are from Local knowledge, and from information from other sources.

I have a full copy of the feed back and will be writing another blog post when I have read it properly, but this post is based on Wilts and Berks Plans.