Swindon Property Investment Guide

£750 million of regeneration will make a strong economy even stronger

Swindon is situated midway between Bristol (35 miles to the west) and Reading (35 miles to the east) and London is 71 miles to the east. In the 2011 census, the population of the built-up area of Swindon was 185,609 and the larger borough had a population of 209,000 which was an increase of just over 16% in ten years.

The McArthurGlen Swindon Designer Outlet is housed in the beautifully renovated Grade II listed buildings of the Great Western Railway Works and is one of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe.

Shoppers revel in the mix of high street and designer brands, reduced by up to 60 per cent. There are over 90 top name stores including John Lewis Home Outlet, Kurt Geiger, Superdry, Hugo Boss, Hobbs, LK Bennett, Marks & Spencer Outlet, Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger will keep you browsing for hours.

Property prices in Swindon are currently good, being below the national and the regional averages by 3% and 12.5% respectively. They saw an increase of a little over 6% in the last year. Swindon’s economy today is diverse, with Honda and BMW/Mini car manufacturing, several insurance/financial services companies and banking institutions. The energy company RWE which includes the well known retail brand Npower, the fuel card and fleet management company Arval and pharmaceutical companies such as Canada’s Patheon and the United States-based Catalent Pharma Solutions and French Medical Supplies Manufacturer Vygon (UK) Ltd have their UK divisions headquartered in the town.

Swindon is also undergoing a £750-million regeneration programme currently, fronted by the Borough Council. The aim is to make the area an even better place to live and work, by the refurbishment of the leisure centre, creating a town centre cinema and restaurants complex, alongside constructing new office space and housing, to draw new businesses and tenants. That means Swindon property investment is ideal for you if you’re looking for a property within a major town for your portfolio.

Economy & Employment

Major employers include the Honda UK car production plant at an old Vickers factory site on the former World War II RAF base of South Marston and BMW/Mini in Stratton.

Insurance and financial services companies such as Nationwide Building Society and Zurich Financial Services, along with banks such as Barclays, Natwest, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Handelsbanken all have a commercial presence here.

Mobile phone companies Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Solutions and Networks also have bases here.

International engineering consultancy firm Halcrow Group Limited and retailer WH Smith’s distribution centre and headquarters are in Swindon.

The town also has a number of professional legal firms such as Clarke Holt, Thring Townsend, Lemon & Co, together with accountants such as Dennis & Turnbull and RSM Tenon.

Swindon is also the registered Head Office of the National Trust and the European head office of the electronics company Intel is on the south side of the town.

Investment

In Autumn 2014, a new phase with an additional 30 new stores and restaurants opened at the McArthurGlen Swindon Designer Outlet

Swindon Borough Council is fronting an exciting regeneration programme worth more than £750 million,  the aim is to make Swindon an even better place to live and work.

Projects include:

  • Refurbishing the Oasis Leisure Centre and developing a larger leisure zone
  • Creating a town centre cinema and restaurants complex on the old Swindon College site
  • Upgrading Swindon’s station forecourt
  • Regenerating Kimmerfields (Union Square), Swindon’s central business district.
  • Kimmerfields is Swindon’s £350-million flagship scheme that aims to create a new commercial heart for the town.
  • Spanning 18 acres, this mixed-use development will comprise 650,000 square feet of offices, 150,000 square feet of retail, 450 residential units, a Primary Care Trust centre, a bus exchange, & a new 850-space multi-storey car park.

Transport

Air: Bristol Airport is 47 miles via the M4 to the west, London Heathrow Airport is 65 miles to the east via M4 and Southampton Airport is 61 miles via M4 and A34.

Rail: Trains to London take just over an hour and run at 3 or 4 per hour. The Bristol service (via Bath) takes around 45 minutes and operates half hourly.

Road: At the junction of two Roman roads, the town has developed into a transport hub. It has two junctions (15 and 16) onto the M4 motorway.

Bus: Stagecoach and Thamesdown operate the majority of the bus services in and around the district.

Education

Swindon has 61 primary, 12 secondary, 6 special and 1 independent school, alongside 2 colleges in its catchment area.

Notable schools include: The Commonwealth School is a co-educational secondary school. The school’s most recent Ofsted inspection was in June 2011, they were judged Outstanding in 16 out of 22 categories, gaining an overall rating of outstanding.

Further Education and Higher Education: Swindon College and New College cater for the Swindon area’s FE and HE requirements.

Swindon College has Its campus at North Star, just outside the town centre. The college has HNC/Ds and Foundation Degrees, through to B.A. (Hons) courses and a postgraduate programme. It is also the provider of The Fitness Academy, based at Centre Fitness gym.

New College was founded in 1983, OFSTED report rated the college as Good (grade 2) with outstanding features. New College is also one of the largest institutions in the country. Further extensions were added in 2005 and 2012, the latter being a £10 million investment which increased capacity by a third. The new build included a Student Zone, a STEM zone, a lecture theatre and an extended restaurant.

Shops & Leisure

Shopping & Dining: The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet is fully pedestrianised and offers both an indoor and outdoor shopping experience. Whether you are in search of the latest fashion, or have an eye for a bargain, this is the place to be. For those more creative purchases look out for the local and international markets that regularly come to the town.

Regent Circus is the newest addition to Swindon’s leisure offering. Opened early 2015 it features a 6 screen cinema with several restaurants, a large Morrisons and ample car parking.

Sport & Culture: There is a buzzing arts scene with many events taking place throughout the year at venues including the Wyvern Theatre, Arts Centre and Library.

Green Spaces: Coate Water Country Park is a 56 acre reservoir built in the 1820s for the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal. It was later converted to Wiltshire’s first Local Nature Service and is now a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI). Lydiard Park is the ancestral home of the Viscounts Bolingbroke. The Palladian house, beautiful church, walled garden and formal parkland are the remains of a great country estate.

About the Author

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Gladfish. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids.

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