Heritage Action Zone

21 January 2020

Update from Swindon Borough Council

We are pleased to report that good progress is being made with the future of the Mechanics’ Institute.

The building is owned by a private company called Forefront Estates. In the autumn, we sent them a legal enforcement notice – but it was ignored. This allowed us to step in and cut back the vegetation that had been left to grow, and that work has now been completed.

A survey that will allow us to assess the proper condition of the building will be completed in the next few weeks. This will give us a good idea of how much money is needed to restore the building.

For the last couple of months, a consultant has been working with the Mechanics’ Institution Trust, the Council and other stakeholders, on a viability study.

This will examine old and new ideas and will present some possible future uses for the building. The study is currently being finalised. Once the condition survey and viability study have been completed, they will be made public and will inform future decisions about how to move forward.

We would love to see the Mechanics’ restored and put to use for the public good. It is a key project in the Heritage Action Zone which was set up last year in partnership with the experts at Historic England.

Last year was about laying the foundations for success with help from Historic England, the Mechanics’ Institution Trust and others.

We are confident that we will soon be in a better position to make visible progress towards the restoration of the Mechanics’ by 2024.