Cavendish Square Petition

Media Release – Parks & East Walcot Forum

November 17th 2010

Cavendish Square Petition

The “regeneration” of Cavendish Square was described by the Council as “a fantastic project to transform Cavendish Square”. It would “revamp community facilities creating a fantastic place to live, play and shop”.

Yet more than 2 years after the shops were opened the Square looks like it has a derelict building site attached to it. The base of the old Co-op building remains, decaying concrete and bricks, flooding when it rains, covered in litter. It drags the whole environment down.

The Reuben George Hall being boarded up, adds to the derelict picture.

The two local community groups, Parks & East Walcot Forum, and SWAP (Walcot and Parks Community Group) have launched a petition demanding that this state of affairs is dealt with as a matter of urgency.

If there is no prospect of the derelict site having retail units built on there, then at the very least the developer should resurface it. According to a Swindon Council Newsletter in December 2008 this area would be “covered in tarmac and left clear”. This has not happened.

People who live in the area and use the facilities should not be expected to put up with this situation indefinitely.

Whilst the Council no longer owns the land, as the representative of local people, it should pressure the developer to rectify the situation which is unacceptable.

Chair of Parks & East Walcot Forum, Martin Wicks said:

Far from improving Cavendish Square, the “regeneration” has succeeded in worsening the environment.

If the Council is to act in the interests of local people it should press the ‘developer’ to rectify the current state of affairs.

All the hype of the Council about a project which was supposed to “return the area to its former glory” appears to have been forgotten. The current condition of the area makes a mockery of the very idea of “regeneration”.

It is certainly not “a community hub of which we could all be proud”. The Council should be ashamed of the mess.

There is surely a lesson here. When you hand over land, then you lose control of it. The privatisation of public space has proved to be disastrous.

There is also the added danger at the moment that the rents for the shops are so high that we could end up with a row of empty shops.”

For further comment ring Martin Wicks on 07786 394593


Phase 1 of the project was the building of houses.

Phase 2 was the building of shops.

Phase 3 was to be new retail units built on the site of the old Co-op shop, and the covering of the square with a roof.

There has been no interest in retail units so the land has remained derelict.

The petition reads:

Cavendish Square Petition

We the undersigned consider that the condition of Cavendish Square makes a nonsense of the promise of ‘regeneration’. Reuben George Hall has been boarded up for a long time. The decaying base of the old Co-op site makes the square look like a derelict building site. It is dusty and dirty and floods when it rains. It does not encourage people to use the facilities available.

In the absence of more retail units we call upon the owners to resurface the old Co-op site and call on the Council to press them to rectify the condition of the square.

Local people should not be expected to suffer these conditions indefinitely.”

Copies of the petition can be obtained from The Shop at Cavendish Square, or downloaded from the website:

Signature sheets should be returned to The Shop at 66 Cavendish Square, SN3 2LR.

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