THE town has been revealed as the fastest growing in the region as the population has swelled to almost 210,000, according to the latest Census.

In results published by the Office For National Statistics, Swindon was named as the local authority with the greatest increase in its population, rising 16 per cent from 180,100 in 2001 to 209,200 in 2011.

Nationwide , Swindon was the twelfth fastest growing area behind Manchester, Milton Keynes and Slough.

In the south west there are now 27,000 more under-fives compared with 2001, an increase of 10 per cent, with the largest proportion in this age group in the region in both Swindon and Gloucester at seven per cent.

A spokesman for GWH said figures on birth rates at the hospital were not likely to account for a significant rise in the population, as they had remained stable over the last decade.

Rosemary Wells, a spokesman for Swindon Chamber of Commerce said: “It is positive that Swindon is growing.

”When there is more activity going on in a place and more people around it can have a positive impact on the local economy, for example in terms of business looking for employees.”

Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson said Government funding had been in line with the rise in population but that there was an accuracy deficit in the Census figures.

He said: “It’s no surprise about the population figures. “Over the last 20 years we have certainly been one of the fastest growing towns in terms of housing developments.

“Take Abbey Meads for example, I went from representing 1,800 people to 8,500 within ten years.

“I think though, that while they would argue 94 per cent response rate is satisfactory they are missing an estimated one and a half million people.

“That is essential information for local authorities and health trusts to secure funding for their local communities.

“That’s what the Census is used for – to help secure appropriate funding based on population and demographic and as the population has grown we would expect additional finding to reflect that, which it has done.”

But nationalstatistician Jil Matheson said the overall the response to the Census had been a success.

She said: “I’d like to thank everyone in the south west for their support. “The 2011 Census has been a resounding success and I am proud of the incredible effort that has been put in. “It is a rich source of information about the population and its characteristics.

“Across England and Wales around 19 out of 20 people responded and we have excellent statistical methods for ensuring we have a complete estimate of the whole population. “These statistics will provide valuable information for planners, policy-makers and the public for years to come.”