The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire Edition 61: June/July 2022 | Page 9


Other projects which will bring major change are underway

Salisbury River Park Food Alleviation Scheme – this is a project led by the Environment Agency to make more of a neglected area of the city where five rivers meet , near The Maltings .
Paddy Bradley Chief Executive Officer of the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership ( SWLEP ), lives in the city . He said ,“ Overall in terms of its retail offer , footfall in Salisbury is recovering pretty well . There is great potential around The Maltings and we are involved , with others , in making that area beautiful .” SWLEP has put in just over £ 6m into a wider project which has started almost ‘ behind the scenes ’ to alleviate the risk of flooding , to clear the area and make it suitable for future housing and other development .
The Eastern Villages & Wichelstowe , Swindon These developments will bring 1000s more homes into the Swindon area and , as is often the case with big housing projects , they have caused controversy among residents as planning permission has gone through over the years . However the demand for housing across the UK is acute .
Tara Cozens , who has run her independent company TLC Property in the town for three years said ,“ There is a desperate need for more housing . I have tenants in my lettings business who ready to move within the week . The demand is here and the pressure on the housing stock , particularly of two and three bedroomed homes is relentless at the moment .” SWLEP has provided funding for roadworks and

The Way Forward Programme at GWH in Swindon

infrastructure around the White Hart Roundabout , Junctions 15 and 16 of the M4 to facilitate this growth . Wichelstowe has been on the planning books for many years and , originally was meant to be fully completed by 2015 with schools , shops , pubs etc . however progress has been painfully slow .
Due to the economic downturn in 2008 and then the original housebuilder pulling out of the project , it has been delayed by at least five years however work has now ramped up to get it back on track . Significant works are now taking place close to junction 16 and on the land between the M4 and Rushey Platt , an area which will become known as West Wichel .
Great Western Hospital , the county ’ s major hospital , has a programme for change and growth based on local needs . A radiotherapy centre is due to open soon which has been funded by local donation and a fundraising drive over several years , though interestingly this is a separate project .
The trust of the hospital received £ 30m in funding in 2018 and a further £ 15m a year later to start to bring its future vision to life . The trust has used some of that budget to purchase an area of land of around 5.5 hectares next to the existing site for this purpose .
It ’ s useful to remember the hospital itself is subject to a Private Finance Initiative contract ( PFI ) where a private partner which raised the capital for the original build , is paid , rather like a mortgage , for the hospital and that agreement will be relevant for some time to come . New builds will not be subject to a PFI agreement .
Julian Auckland-Lewis , director for the programme , said , “ We are developing the Great Western Hospital site to create a healthcare environment suitable for Swindon ' s growing and ageing population , now and well into the future .
“ The Way Forward Programme is focused on key projects that , instead of simply creating bigger versions of what we have today , will be part of a more integrated , streamlined and efficient health care system .
“ It is made up of a series of development projects , including the purchase of additional land , upon which we will build a number of new healthcare facilities over the coming years , as well as expand and co-locate our urgent and emergency care services on the existing site .
“ Where any new build joins the existing structure , or any reconfiguration works are undertaken within existing PFI buildings , we will be working very closely with our PFI partners , all of whom are fully briefed and supportive of our plans , and happy to work with us to put in place the necessary legal protections .”
The construction of a new urgent treatment centre is ongoing to replace the former Clover Urgent Care Centre . This centre will deal with minor injuries and urgent treatment which is not deemed an emergency and will include a new pharmacy .
There are also plans to expand and improve the Emergency Department ( formerly known as A & E ).
Supporting this change is the construction of an energy centre to provide more sustainable power .
Beyond that , the trust will be considering other facilities over time to both support the community and raise income . These could include :
• A rehabilitation centre .
• A private patient unit ( put on ice when the pandemic hit )
• A mental health facility .
• A hotel for both staff and families of those undergoing treatment .
Watch this space for developments on these projects over the coming months …