Senior members at Swindon Borough Council reacted with sorrow, and also determination, when Honda confirmed its plant would shut.

The authority voted to keep £200,000 in reserve to help workers at the full council meeting just a few days after the initial closure announcement in February.

David Renard, the Conservative leader of the council said: “We are saddened and disappointed that Honda has decided to confirm their decision to close the factory in two years’ time.

“We will now be working with Honda, the Government, other businesses and partners to ensure we find alternative employment for the associates and talking to Honda about the future of the site. Swindon has a resilient economy and we must grasp the new opportunities which will arise.”

The borough council’s cabinet member for economy and place, Oliver Donachie said the council had worked as hard as it could to keep the car manufacturer in Swindon: “Honda’s announcement is desperately disappointing news for employees and all those connected to the car factory.

“We had been working hard with all members of the Government-led Honda Task Force in a bid to persuade Honda to stay but, sadly, the company has chosen to press ahead with its plans.”

Coun Donachie said the authority had tried its best to keep Honda in town, but had started planning in case the decision went against it: “Our immediate focus is on helping all those affected by the car plant’s closure and there are a number of sub groups supporting the task force that have been working behind the scenes to respond to the outcome of the consultation.

“Swindon’s excellent location and transport links will be vital in attracting new firms into the town and work is already underway to bolster our already booming local economy, while also looking at how Honda’s South Marston site could be used in the future.

“We are now completely focused on ensuring the best outcomes for everyone affected. We are following up the many offers of practical help and support we have already received. Anyone who wants to offer their support can still do so by emailing”

Before the recent local elections, the leader of the Labour group at Euclid Street, Jim Grant had said his policy was to increase the Honda fund tenfold to £2 million using the money the authority is to receive from selling the County Ground to Swindon Town FC.

He said that idea should be put into action: “This is a very disappointing decision for Swindon. Labour is committed to continue to support the plan devised by Unite the government and the council.

“From a council point of view its vital the current administration backs up its warm words about creating alternative jobs to replace those jobs at Honda as well as in the supply chain and the wider economy. They can do that by now agreeing to create the £2m fund Labour has been arguing for. For these new jobs to be created we need to invest in Swindon. The Honda fund does exactly that.

Des Moffatt is a Labour borough councillor and chairman of Central Swindon North Parish Council. He said: “The plant is very close to use here, and we have a lot of people living here who work there.

“It’s bad news – a lot of the young men and women who work there will have made commitments to substantial mortgages. And I doubt that any jobs in the area that are available will match those at the Honda plant for skills or rates of pay.

“There’s quite a bit that the local authorities from the parish council to the borough, and above that can do.

“We need to be selling Swindon – there’s a great tradition and history of engineering in Swindon, going back to the railways and also the Plessey Group.

“The plant is pristine and could be used by someone else, whether that’s white goods manufacturing or something else.

“It’s not for politicians to be doing this though, its for use to be appointing the specialist sales people to go out and sell Swindon, to attract new companies to the town and to get them to take on the plant.”