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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Town centre plans come under fire
An artist's impression of the new Arena
Work on the town centre project is due to start in the next two years
Regeneration plans for the centre of Swindon have come under fire from a campaign group.

The Swindon Civic Trust, which aims to pioneer improvements in urban life, has slammed the plans as "unimaginative".

It claims the scheme should include a new university campus, which would help inject new life into the town centre.

But the New Swindon Company (NSC), the not-for-profit group behind the project, says there is not enough room in the town centre for a campus.

However, the Civic Trust says it has identified a large area in the town centre which could be a suitable site.

It is drawing up its own plans for the area, which it hopes to unveil next month.

Greenfield site

Trust chairman John Monniot, said: "It is the long-sought university which will bring sustainable character to the town centre, not a speculative and unimaginative over-development of shops and offices.

"We believe the New Swindon Company has lost its vision."

The University of Bath had earlier revealed plans for a campus on a greenfield site near the Great Western Hospital to the south east of the town.

The New Swindon Company, which was set up in 2002, said it responded to public feedback on the proposals.

Revealing the scheme last week, it said projects would include "better leisure facilities, more homes, new offices and shops, more jobs, improved access to education and the arts".

Chief executive Peter Andrews, said the organisation did support the need for a new campus in the borough.

"Following discussion with the University of Bath, we know that the town centre cannot meet their accommodation needs," he said.

"Our vision maintains a university in the town in the form of a home for an entire faculty, which will enhance the project area that has a strong focus on culture and education."

Work on the town centre scheme is due to begin in the next two years.

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