Swindon might be on the edge of the development zone knows as 'England’s Economic Heartland' but it is at the heart of its new transport strategy.

The area runs from Swindon up to the south Midlands and across the country to Cambridge in the east.

Now it has put forward its vision for a radical shake-up of transport links across the region it says are needed to keep the zone one of the most productive in the UK.

Swindon’s position as the so-called 'gateway to the west' makes it a critical focus point – the town is described in the strategy as “a regional significant hub and an area potential”.

The strategy says east-west links need to be radically modernised and moved to zero-carbon sooner rather than late.

It adds: “To succeed, it needs to be wholesale. We will prioritise the development of an east-west ‘smart spine’. In time, this will form the backbone of a highly-connected, intelligent transport network.

“The core focus for the east-west main line is to achieve a step-change in east-west connectivity, linking Ipswich and Norwich with Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford and beyond that towards Swindon and onwards to Bristol and south Wales.”

It says it wants to work with another regional development partnership, the Western Gateway, of which Swindon is a member, and which stretches west through Gloucestershire, Bristol and Cardiff to Swansea.

Leader of Swindon Borough Council David Renard signed up to the EEH and is hopeful it will help to improve the town’s links to Oxford.

He said: “The government is very keen on what it calls strategic transport bodies and that’s what England’s Economic Heartland is.

“It’s clear we need four-tracking of the railway line between Swindon and Didcot, connecting to Oxford. That will allow more services every hour to be carried on the line.

"And we want to see improvements of the A420. It’s only through such a transport body that these improvements will be made.”

Coun Renard said Swindon was fully on board with the EEH’s increasing push to zero-carbon travel.

“We are aiming to be a hub for the development of hydrogen technology and have also made a bid to be one of the first electric bus towns in the country,” he said.

The EEH plan will be put to consultation before being put to central government as the body’s official for funding for improvements.