Swindon has a proud history of growth and innovation and this sets to underpin its future.

Last week a joint venture agreement was signed between Swindon Borough Council and Barratt Developments to bring around 2,750 homes to the 250 hectare Wichelstowe development to the south of Swindon.

There is innovation in the approach to join forces between public and private sectors to secure much needed housing growth.

The most important thing about the joint venture is that it will deliver good growth and not just housing numbers.

As I understand it the scheme will create high quality housing to attract a wide range of potential buyers which will further cement Swindon’s reputation as one of the best places in the country to move to and buy a home.

Alongside this there are wider economic benefits, not least the estimated 1,000 jobs that will be supported by the scheme in the initial stages.

Quality housing developments are a crucial part of competing for the best talent in all sectors so that Swindon can support businesses to grow and attract new ones.

In terms of attracting new businesses the announcement is welcomed because it also means that over the next few years crucial employment land that is allocated on the site can be begin to be unlocked.

From a Switch on to Swindon point of view this will give us another product to take to the market when promoting Swindon.

So, well done to all involved in getting the deal done.

I have watched the progress made over the last couple of years with the arrival of Waitrose and the construction of the new district centre and secondary school in Canalside and look forward to seeing things gather even more momentum.

I signalled in last week’s column that some of our SOTS ambassadors were up for awards at the South West Business and Community awards held last Thursday at the Double Tree at Hilton.

It was a pleasure to see so many of them be recognised, including Matt Greenwood from Desk Co-Work, Shirley Ludford from Swindon 105.5, Jessie May and Inner Flame UK.

One award winner I want to pay particular attention to is Steam, who won the leisure and tourism award.

It is all too easy to take for granted some of the special places we have in Swindon and Steam is certainly one of those and continues to pull in visitors from far and wide.

Over the last few years it has worked hard to develop the offer and has carved out a reputation for hosting large conferences, shows and exhibitions.

From wedding fayres to Lego shows and business expos it is one of the best venues in the region.

Alongside this it celebrates Swindon’s proud railway history, attracting visitors and providing a valuable resource for our schools.

The team works tirelessly to keep the exhibits up to date and work with partners to bring in guest locomotives which is no mean feat.

Sometimes you are reminded about how great something is when you see it through other people’s eyes.

We hosted a Chinese business delegation for dinner at Steam last year and there was a real sense of wonder from the delegates when they walked in.

So well done to all the team at Steam and keep up the good work – we are lucky to have you.