IHBC’s ‘Heritage from the doorstep’: Swindon Advertiser jubilant as £1.35M Carriage Works cultural institute gets the go-ahead

websiteThe regeneration of some of the most famous buildings in Swindon – and a vital part of the town’s industrial heritage – will continue, The Swindon Advertiser happily reports, as planning permission has been granted by Swindon Borough Council for the next phase of converting the old GWR Carriage Works, running along London Street.

The Swindon Advertiser writes:

… Appropriately for such an important heritage asset, part of it will house the £1.35m Cultural Heritage Institute the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester is to set up. Three sheds are to be refurbished and converted in this phase of the regeneration. Two will be converted into modern work spaces, with a plan to attract tenants when they’re ready. The unit nearest the tunnel is already earmarked as the home for the RAU’s institute, which will teach will teach postgraduate courses and degrees, including archaeological and heritage practice, historic environment management, landscape archaeology and historical archaeology.

Director of the institute Dr Geraint Coles said: ‘This project will provide students with first-hand insight into heritage-led regeneration and the complexities involved. This exciting project is essential if the UK is to remain a leader in global heritage management.’

The scheme is a key part in the regeneration of the Railway Village. Oliver Donachie, the council’s cabinet member for place and economy said: ‘We are lucky to have some fabulous historic buildings here in Swindon and the regeneration of the Carriage Works has made an important contribution to the local economy and has undoubtedly acted as a catalyst for improvements to the wider area. Working in such a fantastic environment has its benefits and instils a greater sense of pride in the businesses and communities involved. These historic buildings have certainly played their part in attracting higher value investment and jobs making our town more dynamic and enhancing its identity.’

Dale Heenan, cabinet member for the town centre added: ‘The Carriage Works is one of the big success stories for the council over the last couple of years, and you may not have heard about it. Phase 2 has had a big step forward with the green light on the final agreements for the Cultural Heritage Institute. The buildings are a fitting place for the institute. They were built in 1876, and are an excellent example of how to protect and give new life to Grade II-listed buildings near the town centre.’

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