The prospect of getting one huge employer to take the whole of the Honda site is unlikely, economic experts say.

And it could be better for Swindon’s economy if the South Marston plant, a former airfield, is used by a number of different companies.

That is according to the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, a government-funded body that works to develop the economy in the area.

Last week the then Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy Andrea Leadsom praised a report produced by the LEP into possible future uses of the 380-acre site.

That report is confidential under a non-disclosure agreement the organisation had to sign to take part in the minister-led task group, but its chief executive Paddy Bradley said: “The first thing you have to say about the site is that it’s still privately owned by Honda.

“It’s a bit like someone in your street says they want to move out and sell their house, the council and we are simply watching and saying “come on, get on with it” but we can’t make them do anything.”

Mr Bradley said the estate is a 'major asset' for Swindon’s economic future.

He said: “There are 29,000 people employed in manufacturing in Swindon and Wiltshire. This is regionally and nationally significant.

“It’s a big site, over 380 acres, but what’s the likelihood one big company would want it all?”

Instead Mr Bradley thinks there could be a range of different activities and companies all using the site when it becomes available.

He said: “Our report says there is space for light manufacturing, enterprise development and research and development, including training.

“That would mean not becoming too reliant on just manufacturing.”

Mr Bradley said manufacturing was changing, with companies combining increasing use of digital technologies with more traditional methods of making things.

“Research and development is becoming increasingly important in the private sector, but there are a few big players you hear about like Dyson.

“We haven’t got a university-led research and development sector here in Swindon and Wiltshire, but this could become a site for that and attract companies and it could lead to more spin-offs.”

He added: “If there is a good mixture of light manufacturing, business development and incubation of small businesses and research and development on the site, it would diversify the economy in Swindon, and it could mean that more people are employed there, than the 3,500 employed by Swindon at the moment.

“We’ve looked at the demand for industrial property. and the skills in the workforce and the skills needed in Swindon as the engine of the economy and the driver for change, and that’s how we see the best way to use the land, for a variety of different business and economic uses.”

With Honda announcing that it would continue making cars on site until July 2021, while there is space on site for other uses, significant change will not take place before that date.