A new university for Swindon and Wiltshire is one of the long-term aims of the county’s development organisation.

A college is part of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s plans and it was told by a huge majority of businesses that’s what the county needs.

Draft plans say possible sites could be in Swindon, Salisbury and Corsham - and a similar scheme in Milton Keynes suggests costs for building campuses from scratch could be around the £300 million mark.

John Mortimer, chairman of enterprise partnership, said: "We asked businesses to tell us which ‘big ideas’ were the most important for Swindon and Wiltshire to play our part in making the UK a global leader in the industries of the future.

"A business-led multi-campus university was ranked top ‘big idea’ by 72 per cent of leaders from businesses and the public sector engaged in our workshops.

“We currently have a limited higher education offerwhich is not meeting the need of local business and local residents and is not attracting talented learners from a wider geography.

"Improving university provision is an investment priority for SWLEP and we have set out our ambition to develop a multi-campus university.”

The view at Euclid Street is supportive - but the borough council is concentrating more on getting an Institute of Technology set up at Swindon College.

Councillor Oliver Donachie, the cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: “TheHigher Education Strategy has been developed as a means of bridging the skills gap and we are proud to have played a part in moving it forward.

“This is a good idea and one we wholeheartedly support.

“One of our top priorities is to continue to stand firmly behind the partnership bid for an Institute of Technology, led by Swindon College. If successful, the institute will be responsible for training more than 1,000 students including apprentices in subjects like advanced manufacturing, digital and computing and life sciences. This would bring great benefits to the town and we are committed to achieve this aim in any way we can.