THE council has pledged help WH Smith find a new home in the town.

The high street giant, which has offices and a warehouse at its HQ in Greenbridge Road, has said it wants to move out.

It has submitted a planning application to be allowed to build 288 houses on its site – 134 houses are already set to go up on land right next door that the company vacated last year.

The idea is for the company to be able to sell the land with the planning permission to a developer and move into a new headquarters. It says it will stay in Swindon.

Council leader David Renard aid: “We're talking to Smiths about what they need – whether it's somewhere out of town or somewhere more central, the size of the office space they need, whether they want something bespoke like Zurich with Kimmerfields.

“When those needs are clear, we at the council will do everything we can to help them find the right new premises in Swindon.

Coun Renard added: “WHSmith is a very important part of Swindon’s economy and the council will do everything it can. Swindon has plenty of different sites and once we completely understand Smiths' requirements then it will be able to help the company."

A spokesman for WHSmiths said it was too early in the process to say what the company was looking for in any detail – with the planning application for the Greenbridge site only having just been lodged.

They added: “As a long-standing employer within the town, we are currently working with Swindon Borough Council to look for alternative options for modern DC and office space within Swindon.”

Coun Renard said the best thing any company looking to relocate in Swindon can do is contact the council early if it needs assistance or advice.

Whilethe local authority is working with WHSmith and has done so with Zurich on its new headquarters being built on the Kimmerfields site, pharmaceutical company Wasdell Group was disappointed earlier this year.

After its proposals to move to a greenfield site near Wanborough from its base in Blagrove was turned down by the council’s planning committee, Wasdell said it will look to leave Swindon.

Coun Renard said: “The difference is that Wasdell submitted an application on land which was not allocated for either employment or housing.

"The best thing to do is talk to the council early if a company does think it can help.”