The year is almost over, and what a year it has been.

With so much attention focused on the unfolding drama that is Britain’s departure from the European Union, we could all be forgiven for thinking that nothing else of any significance has happened.

In Swindon, however, we have not let national events distract us from our primary objective of ensuring the town is a wonderful place in which to live, work and play.

In fact, 2018 has been, I’m proud to say, a year of notable successes.

I was thrilled to see us triumph at the brilliantly innovative Beat the Street get-fit game during the autumn.

People of all ages took part with a real sense of enthusiasm and managed to clock up 313,353 miles by walking, cycling and running.

It was a wonderful initiative that promoted the benefits of keeping fit and I hope it has inspired people to get out into the fresh air more frequently.

A number of big infrastructure projects have also been completed this year.

We finished the £11.5m improvements to Junction 16 to increase capacity at the roundabout, and work to improve Junction 15 will start in the summer.

The Quality Bus Corridor at Regent Circus, which was funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership and is intended to make it much easier for buses to move around Regent Circus, was also finished, with the installation of new bus shelters and street lights.

Almost half a million pounds was spent rebuilding Upham Road, which included vital work to replace its 60-year-old crumbling concrete base.

Members of the Council’s Planning Committee have this year given the go-ahead to some very exciting schemes.

A new £3.6m state-of-the-art sports hub is to be built in Moredon.

The development will include a new pavilion, a BMX ‘pump’ track and a 3G all-weather pitch.

And I am thrilled to be able to say that plans for a £270m leisure complex at North Star were signed off to much fanfare.

This means that Swindon will soon be home to two real-snow ski slopes, the largest IMAX cinema screen in Europe, a huge trampoline park and much, much more.

There are so many achievements that deserve to be celebrated.

The Tadpole Garden Village housing project in North Swindon won Best Housing Scheme in the Planning Awards 2018 and Swindon was named as having the seventh highest economic output per worker out of 62 towns in the UK.

We opened a new day centre to provide support to rough sleepers and launched the Temporary Winter Housing Scheme for a second year running.

Huge progress has been made on the Wichelstowe development and the new Hall & Woodhouse pub, standing elegantly on the canal side, is set to open in January.

The new secondary school, The Deanery Academy, is also due to welcome its first pupils in September.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single person – councillors, officers, community leaders and residents – who has written their own chapter in Swindon’s 2018 success story.

In whichever direction the politicians in Westminster take our country in 2019, be assured that we at Swindon Borough Council have this town’s interests firmly at heart.