Partnerships are essential to help deliver the services the council provides on a daily basis and we are fortunate to have great working relationships with our colleagues in the police and health, as well as with our fantastic voluntary groups.

We are also doing some great work with the private sector through our various regeneration schemes at Kimmerfields in the town centre, the indoor ski slope at North Star and with our joint venture at Wichelstowe to deliver just under 3,000 homes.

While there is certainly superb work going on in Swindon, it is important we form strategic alliances with regional and national partners to build on that success by continuing to attract public and private investment and jobs into our town.

Last week, Swindon joined a number of councils in the west to make a case to the government for the formation of a Great Western Powerhouse. Similar to the powerhouses that have been established elsewhere in the country, it would stretch along the M4 corridor from Swindon to Bristol and across the Welsh border to Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, and in the north from Gloucester to Bath and Bristol.

The councils would come together to achieve some mutual key goals, including the creation of an industrial strategy linking sector strengths, integrating rail and road improvements to improve links between the towns and cities in the powerhouse and developing an international strategy to promote the region’s industrial strengths.

Our key strategic partnerships to the east continue to develop successfully. On Tuesday, I was a guest speaker at the launch of England’s Economic Heartland’s (EEH) Outline Transport Strategy at its annual conference at the University of Hertfordshire. I was pleased to hear the plans for improved physical infrastructure including rail services to Oxford and beyond. Equally important is the ambitious, holistic approach to the way we are looking at our future digital infrastructure needs so that our communities and businesses can reach their full potential.

This groundbreaking collaboration aims to stimulate economic growth in a corridor reaching from Swindon in the west through Oxfordshire and the south midlands to Cambridgeshire in the east.

The Transport Strategy is due for formal consultation in the first half of 2020 and will set out the region’s infrastructure needs to both government and the private sector.

In addressing the conference I explained our desire to have improved transport links with Oxford so we can build on our dynamic and productive economy and part of that will involve making the case to improve the A420 east of Swindon.

We also want to work with our partners within EEH to capitalise on each other’s expertise in order to realise Swindon’s full economic potential.

As was noted at the conference, Swindon is lucky in that it sits in a pivotal location linking these two great partnerships and so is in a unique position to work across a huge area, securing benefits for our growing economy.

As our own local experience has shown us, collaboration with partners can lead to even greater success.