The first stage of Swindon town centre’s £350m Kimmerfields regeneration scheme has opened – a £15m, 850-space multi-storey car park.
A quarter of the Whalebridge car park, which will be run by Swindon Borough Council, has already been let to town centre businesses for staff parking. It will replace a number of existing out-dated town centre car parks which were seen as a barrier to business investment in the area.
These car park sites will now be redeveloped to further improve the town centre – including using part of the Wyvern Theatre car park as the town’s long-awaited art gallery.
The showpiece building is just the start of the 17-acre Kimmerfields scheme which will be developed either side of Fleming Way over the next few years and will include 450 homes, 600,000 sq ft of high-quality offices, a new primary care trust headquarters, a 100-bed hotel, 145,000 sq ft of retail, café and restaurant space and improved transport infrastructure, including a new bus station.
Kimmerfields is being developed by Manchester-based Muse and overseen by Forward Swindon.
Swindon Borough Council cabinet member for economy and regeneration, cllr Garry Perkins, said: “This new car park is a key point in the regeneration of Swindon, and will vastly improve the experience of visitors to the town centre.
“It will also increase the attractiveness of Swindon town centre to businesses, as the quality of our existing car parks was a definite barrier to business relocation and expansion. The cost of parking in the new car park is the same as long stay parking elsewhere in the town.”
The car park has high levels of security with 51 CCTV cameras on all six levels and in the stairwells, bright lighting, and 22 help points connected to a control centre.
It also has indicators on each level to tell drivers if that it is full, allowing them to quickly move to a new floor and not waste time driving around looking for free spaces.
Vehicles can enter the car park, which is designated as long-stay, between 6.30am and 11pm, although users will be able to drive out at any time.
The opening will allow the council to close a number of out-dated car parks, paving the way for the regeneration of the sites. The 321-space Carlton multi-storey car park is due to close in mid-January. The Cheltenham Street and Queenstown surface car parks, which have 247 spaces between them, will close shortly after that.
The 249-space Wyvern multi-storey car park is due to close during the first half of next year. Part of the site has been earmarked as the eventual home of a proposed new museum and art gallery.