One of Swindon’s most prominent buildings is set to have a £5 million makeover of its exterior.

Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet will discuss plans to renew the exterior panels of the 1976 David Murray John building (known as Brunel tower) at its February 1 meeting.

The council says surveys have revealed the current exterior is deteriorating although the building structure is sound. Over the last 12 months council contractors have been reinforcing the glazing of the residential building’s 10 upper floors and removing loose materials.

Now surveys have recommended replacing the entire exterior fabric, a task expected to take two years. If the work is approved the council will offer to buy any leaseholder flats at the open-market rate if residents want to sell. The council will also offer to rehouse any tenants and has set aside a further £1.8m for those potential costs.

Cllr Keith Williams, cabinet member for climate change, finance and commercialisation, said: “The David Murray John (DMJ) tower is almost 50 years old and, naturally, it is beginning to show its age. Although it is structurally sound, we have undertaken essential maintenance to the external fabric of the building.

“Some remedial work has already been completed, but our specialist contractor has advised us that the external curtain walling needs to be replaced and we need to carry out this safety work using a combination of scaffolding and netting.

“The DMJ is a landmark building on the Swindon skyline and we will be looking at how we can include it in future regeneration plans for the town centre.

“Our priority is to make the building safe, but we recognise there will be some tenants who do not want to continue to live in the DMJ. This is why I will be asking cabinet colleagues that we provide support to those who no longer wish to live in the residential block.”

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