Replacing broken tiles in the downtown Swindon parking lot

Broken and fallen tiles on the exterior of a major car park in downtown Swindon will be replaced.

There have been bollards around the multi-storey Whalebridge parking lot on the corner of Princess Street and Fleming Way for years since cracks began to appear in the terracotta-clad tiles outside.

Many of these tiles were broken and posed a great danger to passersby.

The first crack appeared in 2018 just five years after the opening of the car park – which cost Swindon Borough Council £12.4m -.

Now – four years later – the council has been given planning permission to replace all clay tiles with aluminum fins.

The council’s request to its planning departments stated: “Replacing the existing terracotta fins/cladding on all exterior elevations of the multi-storey car park with extruded aluminum fins/cladding of similar color (powdered terracotta), designs and dimensions.

“The existing terracotta fins/cladding have failed (cracked/splintered) as a result of frost damage caused by a fault in the initial design.

“They are currently unsafe and ugly. The proposed aluminum alternatives would be more weatherproof, robust, and more aesthetically pleasing when compared to existing failed fins.”

Councilor Kevin Barry, Cabinet Member of the Council for Service, Waste and Transportation, said: “It has taken a long time to resolve the cladding issues in the car park due to the complex nature of the negotiations with the contractors involved.

However, we are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement to replace the terracotta fins in the car park at no cost to the board, and in addition, a significant contribution to our administrative and legal costs will be made.

“The legal drafting of the settlement agreement is about to be completed so we cannot comment further at this point as everything is still ‘subject to contract.’ We still need to finalize some technical details with the contractor, but we hope work will start to implement the improvements later in the day. this year “.

Parking was one of the initial pillars of the council’s ambitious plans to renovate that area of ​​the city and connect the business district north of Fleming Road to the main shopping district.

At its opening, Coun Garry Perkins, then a downtown cabinet member, described the car park as an investment in the future and the first part of Kimmerfields projects.

He added, “It was built for 3,000 jobs that will come when it’s all over.

“If we don’t, Swindon will become a recession.”

As Zurich’s new headquarters in Kimmerfields nears completion, and work begins on Bus Boulevard in Fleming Way, Whalebridge’s multi-storey repairs may be seen in time.

The council has previously received criticism for the time it took to implement reforms.

In 2019, former mayor Janab Ali, whose central pavilion covers the area, said: “It’s a complete mess. The car park only opened a few years ago and tiles are falling off.

“It was sold to the people of Swindon as a solution to all our problems. It was a total waste of millions of pounds of taxpayer money.”

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