ACROSS the borough we can see the landmarks and legacies of past generations that define Swindon. From the historic railway village, product of Brunel’s railway revolution, to the David Murray John Tower standing tall on the town’s skyline to Lydiard Country House and Park - I could go on, writes JENNY GROVES.

A strong local economy originally based on a strong manufacturing base has evolved and is now thriving with the addition of electronic, computing, pharmaceutical and financial markets.

Swindon’s location makes it an attractive centre for major companies wanting to locate their headquarters and unemployment remains below the national average.

Switch on to Swindon has a job to do in making more people aware of all of these things that make Swindon a great place to live, work and invest in right now.

However, the Switch on to Swindon message must be honest and authentic. It must recognise those things that need changing or improving and find ways to support those who are seeking to make the changes.

As I continue to learn more about the place that I have called home for the best part of 30 years I find myself increasingly thinking about the landmarks and legacies that need to be created for the next generation of people who choose to live and work in Swindon. How will we want them to remember those of us who have a role in shaping the borough now?

Brave, courageous, aspirational, bold – these are some of the words I hope they will use, which brings me to the proposal for the new Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

As I understand it the project intends to provide a new home for some of Swindon’s greatest treasures in a facility and location that will kick-start the much needed regeneration of part of the town centre. There is a commitment to providing a space for everyone, one that will be owned and enjoyed by the people of Swindon. This will include café/bars, a restaurant and a space for young and old to learn about science, technology, history, art and archaeology.

Throw in a cutting edge design and the prospect of a lot of private sector investment and you have something that feels bold, aspirational and, crucially, achievable. Swindon needs to see some visible symbols of change to give our existing businesses and residents some confidence while also giving us something to attract new people to work and live here.

Yes, there needs to be engagement about the plans and not everyone will agree on everything. But at some point Swindon needs to commit, get its head down and concentrate on taking the step that is right in front of it. My sense is that the new Swindon Museum and Art Gallery proposal is such a step and we must do everything we can to turn it into a reality.

  •  Loads more businesses, organisations and people have signed up as Switch on to Swindon ambassadors since our event a couple of weeks ago. It is really easy to do, just go to to find out more. We’ve also had lots of people submit their stories about why Swindon is a great place for them and I look forward to sharing those in the weeks to come.