Economic growth and regeneration go hand in hand in towns and cities across the world. Swindon is no different. There are a great many things that make Swindon an excellent place for existing businesses to grow and new ones to invest in but there are parts of the town centre that urgently require some life breathed back into them. This remains a top priority if we are going to compete for the best businesses and the best talent in the years to come.

I, like many others, have been frustrated about the perceived lack of progress on the town centre regeneration projects. So, I was pleased to have the opportunity to take a first-hand look at one of the projects, the Carriage Works, and get a better understanding of the work that has been going on behind the scenes.

The Carriage Works is a vast space and a tour around just once section of the building gave a real sense of the scale of the challenge and the opportunity. The team at Forward Swindon articulated the ambition to transform the space into an innovative working environment that would attract a range of businesses from micro start-ups to multi nationals who require some satellite space.

I believe Swindon has a real opportunity to carve out a niche for itself in providing creative work spaces that anticipate how people will want to work in the future. High quality, interesting spaces that encourage innovation, creativity, collaboration and productivity while providing flexibility for both employees and companies is what people are demanding. Even bringing your dog to the office is, as I read over the weekend, an increasingly popular way of attracting people into a company. I happen to know that Swindon’s own Vets for Pets actively encourages this at their office headquarters and provide amazing facilities for their staff and pets.

Swindon already has a range of interesting and innovative offices where employers have put a lot of thought into creating a work place that allows people to be happy and productive. We have also have some pioneers in shared working spaces like Desk Cowork ( in Old Town which provides entrepreneurs and freelancers with a lovely location to work flexibly and, when needed, support each other to make sure everyone prospers.

The Carriage Works could be the next exciting step and really put Swindon on the map for providing innovative working space. It was good to hear some detail about build times, phasing of the development etc. The challenge now is to generate confidence that this will jump from the drawing board to reality. Cracking on with phase one of the plans that I saw and working harder to tell more people what is going on will certainly help do that – go to to find out more.

Award winners

A big congratulations to all of the winners at the Wiltshire Business Awards last Friday. A whole host of our Switch on to Swindon Ambassadors were involved either as sponsors or winners. Congratulations to all the winners and in particular Imagine Cruising and the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC).

The NSBRC hosted our ambassador event in March the dedicated team there have turned it into an incredible success, pulling in visitors from all over the country. If you haven’t been already it is well worth a visit.