THE first and so far only family in Wichelstowe say: “Come and join us.”

The Boulton family have just moved in to Swindon’s newest neighbourhood.

Although the credit crunch has put back the Wichelstowe building schedule for a year and the development of the area attracted controversy – the new arrivals are delighted with their new home and looking forward to welcoming neighbours as they arrive.

Mum Alison Boulton, 46, who is to be ordained as a Baptist minister in July, is working with her own and other local churches, together with other organisations including Swindon Council and Sovereign Housing, to begin building a thriving, friendly neighbourhood.

She said: “Wichelstowe has had some negative publicity, but there are a whole lot of people who feel that this will be a really positive community and a really great place to live.

“Being in right at the beginning is a great way to become part of a new community.

“When a community is just starting, it’s easier to make friends and get to know people.

“We can begin to see what are the ways in which we’d like to have the community develop.

“For example, what community groups should there be?”

Alison, a former drama teacher, is married to IT consultant Neil, 47, and the couple have three children. Josh is 19, Lydia 17 and Harriet 13. Family friend Victoria Tovar also lives in the new home.

The younger family members are highly impressed with the house. Lydia said: “It’s good here – and I have a double bedroom with an en suite!”

The house, sold by Bryant Homes, is a four-bedroomed model called a Fairfield.

Alison added: “I feel very excited to be here at the beginning.

“When we were thinking about coming here, and praying, we got a sense that we’d be here at the beginning.

“When I spoke with the West of England Baptist Association, I learned that they were looking for somebody to be based in Wichelstowe as a community and social leader, holistically meeting the spiritual and practical needs of new residents.

“It’s an exciting new phase in our lives, as we will not only be involved in building a community from scratch but also enjoying our first new home ever as a family.”

Previously, the family had lived in Walcot Road, Old Walcot, for 14 years.

They are full of praise for the quality of their house, the view and the help they have received from Bryant Homes, especially site manager Justin Taylor.

And her message to people considering becoming fellow Wichelstowe pioneers?

“Come and help us found this community.”