Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 18:03 UK

Town redevelopment deal scrapped


Plans included flats, leisure facilities and shops

A £215m regeneration scheme for Swindon town centre has been scrapped after the developers went into administration.

Swindon Borough Council has ended an agreement with Modus to redevelop the Granville Street area.

Modus Ventures ran into financial difficulties earlier this year and was taken over by administrators in May.

The owners of 175 businesses that would have been the subject of compulsory purchase orders have been informed of the council's action.

Councillor Phil Young said: "This is not something that we wanted to happen but the national economic situation has meant things have gone beyond our control and we have acted quickly to end the deal and move on.

We have to make Swindon a place that people want to come to by choice
Councillor Roderick Bluh

"We've now got an opportunity to look afresh at what we want to do to transform the town centre, taking account of the new economic realities."

The Modus deal, which was signed in September 2008, would have seen the development of retail, residential and leisure facilities.

A £350m deal at the town's Union Square with another developer is still going ahead.

Leader of Swindon Borough Council, councillor Roderick Bluh, said: "I do believe the regeneration for Swindon as a whole is broadly in tact, there is a need here and a demand here, developers are still interested in Swindon.

Trowbridge hit

"There is a now a lot of discussion taking place as to whether a retail scheme on the scale being proposed under the Modus scheme is still relevant given the state of the recession.

"Where the retail market seems to be going, perhaps we need to come up with something more imaginative and more deliverable in a shorter timescale.

"We have to make Swindon a place that people want to come to by choice, and if we don't do that the whole town's economy will suffer, it's already been suffering."

The redevelopment of Trowbridge has also been affected by Modus going into administration.

"We've had to terminate the contract with them which means that particular development is now dead in the water," said councillor John Brady of Wiltshire Council.

The plans had included the creation of a leisure centre, cinema and shops.

"We're talking to a number of other developers who have already expressed an interest in working with us," said Councillor Brady.

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