DEVELOPERS have unveiled plans to build a 217,000 sq ft warehouse and distribution centre on the fields across from Gablecross Police Station.

It will be the first phase of a more extensive project outlined by DB Symmetry. The wider site, which is to be known as Symmetry Park, is set to be home to a total of 1.3m sq ft of warehouse and distribution facilities.

Once it is fully completed and operational, Symmetry Park is expected to create between 500 and 1,000 jobs.

DB Symmetry has said that Swindon was an obvious choice compared to other nearby locations.

The firm released a report showing employment in the borough is set to grow by nearly 10 per cent over the next 10 to 12 years. This is significantly higher than the forecast national average of just over six per cent.

The Swindon workforce was found to be well suited to the type of work envisaged at the site, with one in three people having skills or experience that matches the needs of the logistics and distribution sector.

But crucially, it also found that employees in Swindon are paid, on average, 18.3 per cent less than other nearby towns.

A direct comparison with Bristol, for example, showed that companies employing staff in Swindon would save approximately £4,209 per employee, per annum. That represents an annual saving, per 100 employees, of £420,960.

With phase one of Symmetry Park being built speculatively, meaning an eventual occupant has not yet been identified, such figures will be seen as crucial in attracting commercial interest.

Christian Matthews, development director at DB Symmetry, said: “We have identified strategic sites throughout the UK, where there is a severe shortage of logistics space available.

“Having assessed the market, the decision to build speculatively in Swindon without having identified an end user was an easy one to make; supply levels are at an all-time low and with demand ever increasing we believe it is the optimum time to press the button.

“With planning now secured, we are looking to start on site in May with practical completion due in December."

Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for the Economy, Regeneration and Skills, welcomed the decision.

He said: “It is exciting to see work start on site at the largest of Swindon’s new development areas. The New Eastern Villages will deliver about 8,000 homes in the next 10 years, and Symmetry Park will provide jobs and supporting infrastructure that will benefit existing and new residents."

But while the influx of new jobs will be welcomed by many in Swindon, residents are understandably concerned about the impact that the arrival of large distribution complexes will have on the already strained road network.

A report by traffic experts submitted as part of the planning process suggested that at its peak, the Symmetry Park site would see an additional 420 trips in and out of the site each day.

As part of the wider New Eastern Villages development, a comprehensive plan of remodelling is being rolled out to take in the A419, A420, the White Hart roundabout and the Greenbridge roundabout which has already been completed.

Housing and commercial developers are being asked to contribute towards the cost of that work as part of any planning agreement.

For its part, DB Symmetry is understood to be handing over £4.3m worth of support to assist with infrastructure changes.

A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council said: “The developer is contributing to local infrastructure in accordance with the adopted New Eastern Villages Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document.

“Contributions have been secured towards strategic and local road network improvements, public art and a community forest."