Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Same again, please?

The plan to demolish the Tented Market and replace it with a development of restaurant units and cafes is nothing new, a similar plan was mooted in 2007 and rejected in 2008 and it appears history is repeating itself, almost to the letter.

The 2007 plan was to demolish the Tented Market and replace it with a building housing 4 restaurants or cafes and one coffee shop. The proposal was recommended for approval by the council officers for planning but this was ignored and the proposal was rejected by the councillors on the Planning Committee. The main reason for the rejection then was the objections raised by the developers for Regent Circus and for Granville Street (the Granville Street development plan subsequently collapsed and work at Regent Circus did not start for a further four years) that the area would be saturated with food and drink businesses (just like the objections lodged by the traders at the Tented Market today). A smaller reason for objection was that the design was not 'landmark enough' as a replacement for the Tented Market building.

Skip forward to 2016 and it seems nothing has changed, at all.

Objections have been raised by the traders for the town centre being saturated by food and drink businesses, both at Regent Circus and soon at the Brunel Centre. It seems our appetite for a bite to eat is never-ending, with all cafes and restaurants in town appearing to stick around for a lot longer than the shops. 

The last version of the 2007 plan (there were a few), that was presented to SBC and rejected was called a 'pavilion' of 4 restaurants and one shop unit. 

The current plan is for 5 restaurant units in a building that is on the identical footprint of the 2007 proposed 'pavilion' and the elevations look very similar, with a little more glass and not as boxy a roof.

In short, Swindon has been presented in 2016 with a plan for a building almost identical in appearance to one it rejected allowing to be built in 2008.

8 years later, will SBC follow their own precedent and reject the proposal a second time? 

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