The changing face of Swindon is a huge business opportunity

By Anita Jaynes on 2 August, 2019

Planned development in Swindon presents real opportunities for business. That’s Iain Mason’s view, a commercial property solicitor, who heads up the legal team at Optimum Professional Services.

The planned closure of Honda in 2021, while a blow to the town, will unlock a large area which will be ripe for development, attracting in new businesses and presenting opportunities for commercial property.

“We have pinch points in Swindon for commercial property, with a shortage of certain types which are in high demand,” said Iain. “The Honda site represents an opportunity for some fresh thinking that could be really attractive for bringing in new industries and helping businesses which are already here and looking to relocate.

“We’re living in a fast-moving, disruptive world and the Honda site could be a chance to break the mould.”

The £270m leisure development around the Oasis – the planned ‘Snoasis’ with snow slopes, cinema and associated restaurants – will also be a big boost to Swindon.

“But the question remains: whither Swindon? What happens to Swindon town centre?” said Iain. “The Snoasis will be a destination point and the Swindon Designer Outlet is a real success story. If the Kimmerfields development goes ahead, which will create a new cultural quarter where the Wyvern Theatre is, we could be seeing a final piece in the jigsaw of the next phase of Swindon.”

Iain said looking at the wider area of North Wiltshire, with Dyson’s development of electric cars at Hullavington, it was clear all three of Wiltshire’s M4 junctions lead to a hub of business activity. “There is an irony that the sun is setting on one area of car production at Honda and rising on another with Dyson’s EVs. They are in sharp relief, but also reflect the changing world.”

Iain, who, along with the team at Optimum, offers business development advice to SMEs, added: “All the indications are that there are opportunities to be grabbed by business owners, particularly in the supply chain, for those who are agile enough and prepared to adapt.”

For Swindon and Wiltshire homeowners and property investors, the future of new-look Swindon is also promising. Figures released earlier this year reveal the average time for houses to be on the market is shorter here than anywhere else in the UK.

“Our instructions for sales of residential properties are very buoyant, and development is going on all the time, with the likes of Tadpole Garden Village and Badbury Park,” Iain added.

Developers are also creating accommodation space in the town centre, such as the former Alexander House office building near the railway station being turned into The Lock apartments.

“Swindon is becoming a more attractive place to work, thanks to electrification of the railway cutting the journey time to London, and the planned Crossrail,” said Iain. “I like to think of this as the emergence of Swindon 2.0 – a new version of the town which meets the needs of the people who live and work here and represents great opportunities for businesses to thrive.”

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