Tomorrow I have the pleasure of attending a turf cutting ceremony to mark the start of work to build a new free secondary school in Swindon, writes borough council leader DAVID RENARD.

As you would expect of a £26m state-of-the-art school, the facilities at the new Deanery Church of England Academy will be first class and the council has provided additional funding to help pay for a floodlit all-weather pitch, drained grass pitches, a sports hall to Sport England club standards and a 440-seater auditorium.

It will help to provide much-needed secondary school places for our ever growing population and I’m sure it will be a fitting place to inspire pupils in the years to come.

I would encourage you to visit the school’s website, so you can see the plans for yourself.

An integral part of the Middle Wichel development, the school will be situated close to the existing Waitrose store and form part of the new Wichelstowe District Centre.

But the new school is just the start. This week award-winning architects Metropolitan Workshops submitted a planning application on behalf of the council to build 85 new homes in what will be marketed as the Canalside area of Wichelstowe.

The development, which has also benefited from the input of local architects Stonewood Design, will feature a choice of one, two, three and four-bedroomed homes for sale and will be located to the north of the existing Waitrose store alongside both banks of the canal.

If planning permission is granted, construction could start early in the New Year, with the first residents moving in this time next year.

Set in four semi-private landscaped garden squares to maximise the views over the canal the homes will be unique and of an extremely high standard.

Each home will also have its own private garden and terrace as well as access to shared communal gardens, creating places for residents to socialise and a safe area for children to play in.

The proposed development sets the bar for the type of quality housing we want to see across both Wichelstowe and the town as a whole.

It is also indicative of the council’s ambition to stimulate house building in the borough as these homes would be delivered via a housing company established by the council earlier this year.

This is already generating valuable income for the local authority via the current Euclid Terrace development in Euclid Street

And it is an example of how the council is looking to maximise potential income streams in order to make it financially sustainable in the future.