What do a hundred thousand tonnes of clay and an economic strategy have in common? That is the amount of clay needed to raise the level of Junction 16 of the M4 as part of an £11.5m upgrade. This will ensure the junction can cope with forecast future traffic levels and cater for future development in the surrounding areas, including the nearby Wichelstowe development which will see thousands of new homes built over the next few years.

I understand that progress with the works has been good and the contractor, HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction Ltd, remain on track to finish by Spring 2018. The improvements are being funded by Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Swindon Borough Council as part of the Wichelstowe development.

So, the link to an economic strategy. Investment in big infrastructure projects like this doesn’t just happen by accident. You need to build a compelling case for why such investment is considered crucial for continued growth and prosperity and you need to be able to point to a long term strategy that creates confidence in both the public and private sector. When people are stuck in traffic delays, which are an inevitable consequence of works on this scale, they need to understand that is part of a long term plan for the place they live and work in.

Swindon Borough Council have just published a draft Economic Strategy for Swindon for public consultation - https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20019/consultations_and_surveys

The Switch on to Swindon Place Board had the opportunity to comment on an initial draft a little while ago and I will be encouraging everyone in our ambassador network to take a look and contribute. There is often a perception that strategies are dull documents that once written sit on shelves gathering dust (I’m sure there are lots of examples of that in truth). However, if Swindon is all about economic growth then this is one strategy we all have an interest in, so get involved.

Welcome to new ambassadors

Our ambassador network is growing by the day with a vast array of businesses and organisations who want to be part of promoting Swindon. A warm welcome to Corporate Events who have been in Swindon for 20 years and continue to grow. Hobsons Choice who have recently made a significant investment in their fantastic Swindon showroom, where we look forward to doing an exclusive event later in the year. The Wiltshire Community Foundation who we are delighted to be working with to give them a platform at our July event for an exciting new Swindon initiative.

Lots of our ambassadors are attending the Swindon Expo at Steam Museum on Thursday 29th June. This is a great opportunity for businesses to connect with each other and potential customers, learn from each other and from a Switch on to Swindon point of view it is another thing we can point at to showcase the huge diversity of businesses we have in Swindon.

Sign up

One more plug to finish this week. Our Ambassador event on July 19th in partnership with BMW Dick Lovett is going to be our best event yet, which is saying something. Don’t miss out on tickets and go to www.switchontoswindon to find out more.