A deal has been reached to help deliver the regeneration of a decaying heritage building in Swindon.

The Corn Exchange, once a dance hall called The Locarno, has been derelict for decades and has been the subject of a number of failed regeneration attempts and missed deadlines.

Now the council and Corn Exchange owner Gael Mackenzie have agreed that the building, which dates from 1852, along with two council-owned car parks, The Planks and Dammas Lane, will be marketed jointly as a development opportunity.

Both parties must sign a joint sale agreement, prior to the marketing and selling of the combined sites on the basis that acceptable offers are received.

A development agreement had been reached in 2016 in which the building would be restored and a mixed-use scheme built nearby. However, after a lack of progress and a number of missed deadlines, the council terminated the deal.

Cllr Matty Courtliff, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, heritage, leisure and town centre experience (pictured), said: “This is an extremely positive development and I was only too happy to authorise the sale of the two car parks as without them, any regeneration scheme would not be possible.

“I am very optimistic we now have a realistic way forward for The Corn Exchange, which has looked desolate against the Old Town landscape for far too long.

“I’d like to thank Mr Mackenzie for engaging with us constructively so we can begin the process of giving this iconic building and the surrounding area a new lease of life.”

Mr Mackenzie said: “I am pleased to be working with the council directly on this and look forward to a successful outcome for both parties in the near future.”

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