21 October 2020

Cabinet approves plans for Cultural Quarter in Swindon town centre

Cabinet approves Cultural Quarter Plans – they met last night (Wed 20th Oct) to discuss the proposals.

They gave the go-ahead to building the cultural quarter on the Kimmerfields regeneration site. The site lies between the railway station and opposite the former Debenhams building on Fleming Way.

The Council has spent the past year working at close quarters with key partners in Swindon’s arts, cultural and business sectors. They’ve laid meticulous plans to create a new cultural quarter. One that will help revitalise the town centre and boost the town’s cultural offer.

A Ten-Year Plan

It’s expected that the plans for the cultural quarter will come to fruition over the next 10 years. They include, among other things:

  • A new theatre
  • Dance centre
  • Digital media and arts hub …
  • … and new facilities to display Swindon’s nationally-significant art collection.

Councillor Dale Heenan, SBC’s Cabinet Member for the Town Centre, Culture and Heritage, said:

“I’m delighted that so many people have agreed that this positive vision is a credible, realistic and deliverable approach for improving Swindon town centre over the next 10 years.

“My Cabinet colleagues and I are full of determination to see a new Wyvern Theatre built by 2030. It will have a 1,200 capacity – that’s double the number of seats today. With that our town can attract the big national and regional shows and performers. We also support the creation of a wider cultural quarter. Something that includes a new museum, art gallery, dance centre and digital studio.

“It won’t be the Council paying for the estimated £80m cost, so the hard work now begins. Over the next six months the Council will work with partners in the arts sector and funding bodies.

This work will prepare the full financial business case and an investment prospectus to make this vision one step closer to reality.”

A bold commitment

Mark Powell, Artistic Director at Swindon’s Prime Theatre, said:

“Too often Swindon’s young people are disadvantaged by lack of experience or aspiration. Yet every week in Swindon schools, I see how art awakens imagination, education and empowerment.

“The town is making a bold commitment to future generations with this plan. Swindon won’t only be a place to live and work, but a place to dream and achieve as well.”

Cabinet approves Cultural Quarter Plans - artist's impression of the cultural quarter

The cultural quarter plans enjoy cross-party support on the Council. The proposals are in their infancy. Thus residents should not expect to see any building work on site for a while yet. But the Council believes in being bold and brave in its ambitions for Swindon and to spearhead town centre regeneration.

See also: https://swindonian.me/2020/10/14/kimmerfields-for-swindons-new-cultural-quarter/

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