Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard was understandably thrilled with the news that the Honda site had been bought by Panattoni.

The car manufacturer will leave town in the summer but uncertainty over the future of its South Marston site was quelled with yesterday's announcement.

Panattoni describes itself as the UK’s largest “speculative developer” and Europe’s “largest developer of logistics property” – otherwise known as warehouses and distribution centres – and has pledged to spend £700m once it takes over in spring 2022.

Coun Renard said: “The Conservative administration is delighted with the news that Honda has agreed to sell its site to Panattoni, proving again that Swindon is open for business.

“The £700m announcement is yet another boost to our economy and will create many more jobs of various skill levels on the site.

“The council will continue to work closely with Honda until their departure and we are delighted that Panattoni is growing their involvement in Swindon.

“All of the current works taking place in our infrastructure and the highways assessment for the Honda site mean that we will be ready to move quickly when detailed plans come forward.

“Many of plans we have been working on are now coming to fruition and Swindon has a bright future which will continue under a Conservative-run council.”

Cabinet colleague Gary Sumner, who is responsible for strategic infrastructure and planning, said: “It’s fantastic news for Swindon.

“It’s a huge site and we always knew Honda wanted to sell it to one new owner. Panattoni have taken it on and they will be able to redevelop it for the future. It’s very exciting.”

Ward councillor Roger Smith said: “This is great news for Swindon. Panattoni have an excellent track record in commercial development. This will mean a substantial number of jobs will be created in the future when the Honda site is redeveloped.”

Swindon Labour’s economic spokesman Coun Junab Ali said : “Labour cautiously welcomes the news that the South Marston Honda site has been sold. Clearly the worst result would have been it lying empty. New jobs being created in Swindon is a good thing, especially because of the pandemic.

“I do think it’s a missed opportunity, though. Swindon was the heartbeat of the Great Western Railway, has been a centre for the automotive industry and could play a crucial role in the drive to net zero and creating the green jobs of tomorrow.

“Labour wants to see more of those high-skilled jobs in Swindon, building on our industrial heritage. We think Swindon deserves better than just a sea of warehouses.”

New buildings on the site, or changes of use of the existing buildings will need planning permission to be granted by Swindon Borough Council.

Panattoni is the company behind the huge Symmetry Park warehouse deal near the Gablecross junction of the A420 off the White Hart Roundabout.

That began as a speculative development but was redrawn to the specifications of what the company’s agent described as ”the world’s largest online retailer”.

Although Panattoni would not confirm the client is Amazon, it has not denied widespread reporting that Jeff Bezos’ company would be using the development for a distribution centre.

The company’s development director James Watson confirmed the Symmetry Park project was still going ahead as planned and the company’s £700m deal for the Honda site just up the A419 in South Marston was separate.

The 2.3m sq ft warehouse has been let to Amazon on a 20-year lease. It was sold to property investment firm Legal and General Investment Management for £200m in October in what is believed to be the UK’s biggest ever single-property deal.

Panattoni’s website features large developments of industrial sites and warehousing in strategically central points across the UK, often built without a specific client in mind.