SENIOR councillors voted last night to approve the sale of Thamesdown Transport amid concerns about its financial future, the Adver understands.

The cabinet met in a confidential session to approve a deal that looks set to see the company sold to a national travel firm, believed to be the Go Ahead group.

It is likely that the decision will also see the council offload Thamesdown Transport’s Barnfield Road depot, which it bought for £2m in 2015.

Thamesdown Transport is wholly owned by Swindon Borough Council. It is one of an ever-dwindling number of municipally-owned transport companies across the country.

It is believed that the deal with Go Ahead could be signed as early as today.

A Thamesdown employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Adver that the senior management team have already cleared their offices and said their goodbyes to staff.

Representatives from Go Ahead have reportedly been making frequent visits to the depot to examine the firm’s operations since before the New Year.

They have been seen surveying equipment and the bus fleet, carrying out what it is believed to be the sort of due diligence exercise a potential buyer would go through before any major transaction.

Negotiations over the future of the company have been shrouded in secrecy, with drivers and other staff warned that speaking to the press would result in immediate dismissal.

Requests from staff representatives for reassurances over jobs have gone unanswered, it is claimed, but the firm’s employees have taken comfort from the knowledge that where Go Ahead have taken over services in other parts of the UK those takeovers have not led to job losses.

The financial difficulties facing Thamesdown Transport have been well documented. The company has recorded combined losses of almost £1.5 million over the past four years.

It is understood that the company’s fortunes are not expected to improve significantly in the near to medium term, a situation which led Swindon Council to explore the option of a sale.

The financial picture at Go Ahead could not be more different – the group has seen full-year profits soar by 27 per cent to £99.8 million while revenues rose by more than four per cent to £3.4 billion.

Swindon Borough Council has declined to comment on the possible sale of Thamesdown Transport since rumours began to circulate last month but a statement is expected tomorrow.