Second phase of £5m plans to regenerate historic Carriage Works nears completion
The second phase of works to regenerate Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s historic Carriage Works in Swindon is almost complete.
Unit 7 will be an Innovation Centre for Applied Sustainable Technologies for the University of Bath.
Alongside this, Unit 9 will be refurbished as a high-quality digital media facility that will be used by Create Studios and participants in their digital media programmes.
Over the next few weeks, the two newly refurbished units will be completed by contractor Beard Construction and handed over to Create Studios and the University of Bath.
Swindon Borough Council has already invested in two other units inside the Grade II listed building to transform it into a business incubator for creative and digital start-up businesses and a desk co-working space.
A further unit has been turned into the Royal Agricultural University’s new Cultural Heritage Institute, which will train the next generation of heritage managers and professionals.
Work has also been taking place on the exterior of the building and the creation of two new business units on the lower ground floor facing onto London Street which should also be finished by the end of the month.
Historic England has provided £174,893 in funding for the scheme, through the Swindon Heritage Action Zone, which will see the restoration of the exterior stonework and new glazing to the windows on both the lower and upper floors.
The lower ground floor units, which were in a bad state of repair, are currently being turned into usable units, which will be ready for occupation later this year.
Phase three of the Carriage Works will include further development of the street-facing units on street level and the Bristol Street car park-facing elevation of the building.
Councillor Matty Courtliff, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage, Leisure and Town Centre Experience, said: “I’m very excited to see this latest phase of the Carriage Works being completed.
“So much work has gone into this and it’s great to see this historic building, which was once at the forefront of Victorian imagination, being repurposed as a 21st century hub of innovation, knowledge and creativity.
“Whilst many residents may not get to see the inside of the building, the exterior works will brighten up the area and help highlight the amazing heritage we have in the town centre.”
Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England, said: “It’s great to see the Carriage Works being transformed into an attractive new home for so many businesses.
"It’s the perfect future for a building long associated with innovation and enterprise.”