Wiltshire

Demolition plan for Swindon's Locarno listed building

Locarno building in Swindon
Image caption The 160-year-old listed building has been derelict for a number of years

A listed building in Swindon could be demolished if a planning application is approved.

The Grade II listed Locarno in Old Town has been derelict for a number of years and has had two arson attacks.

The landowner, through developers Bach Homes (Locarno) Ltd, has submitted an application to Swindon Borough Council to demolish the building.

A council spokesman said the proposal would be heard at the next planning committee meeting in April.

Landowner Gael Mackenzie has owned the site, which also includes the former town hall building, since 1999.

The site had previously been used as a butter/corn market, a ballroom and a bingo hall.

In partnership with the council, Mr Mackenzie had sought to find a viable development plan incorporating council-owned car parks next to the property.

Proposals for the site have included a 117-bed hotel, 72 flats, a restaurant and a cafe.

After a planning application was turned down in February 2011, the council dissolved its partnership with Mr Mackenzie.

Steve Rosier, of Bach Homes, said: "In isolation and without Swindon Council the development of the Locarno site is unviable while retaining the buildings.

"Currently there is no alternative open to Gael Mackenzie other than secure planning approval to demolish these historic buildings, and then propose a new building on the site."

Councillor for Lawn and Old Town, Mike Bawden, said: "I think the owner of the site and his agent are trying to bring the matter to a head and I totally appreciate that.

"It's not an easy problem because if it was it would have been resolved long ago."

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