It feels like an important couple of weeks coming up in terms of how Swindon’s skyline will shape up in the years to come.

The outline planning application for North Star has been submitted and will be presented to the council’s planning committee next week. Now, aside from the fact I’m a keen skier and can’t wait to have a slope on my doorstep, the potential significance of this development for Swindon is huge.

The developer, SevenCapital, plans to develop a £270million regional leisure centre and have moved quickly since taking on the scheme in July to move ahead with planning. Once up and running this facility will complement the existing retail and leisure offer in Swindon and provide a compelling reason for people to visit, live and work here.

As will a new Swindon Museum and Art gallery (SMAG). The deadline for submitting the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is coming up fast and more and more people are getting behind the ‘Back the Bid’ campaign.

The SMAG Trust have spoken to almost 4,000 people since April and engaged with thousands more online.

They have used that feedback to improve the plans including a suggestion to site the new museum and art gallery next to Princes Street so it can be even more prominent.

Some excellent new images to show how the latest building design might look in that position, with some of the future improvements made to the surrounding area have been released and are well worth taking a look at -

The Switch on to Swindon (SOTS) campaign was borne from a desire to challenge some of the negative perceptions that exist, both inside the town and out. We are making significant progress but I’ve always said that the campaign needs physical change to happen in the town, landmark projects, to back up the campaign message.

Rod Hebden, director of the SMAG Trust, recently wrote an article in which he said that Swindon needs a project bold enough to break the cycle. Something which authentically builds on Swindon’s great heritage of innovation and creativity, and inspires a brighter future. Quite right too, which is why SOTS will back the bid and continue to support projects that will regenerate the town.

Alongside that we continue to get the message out about the town’s current strength and have just started a three week social media campaign ( and @SOTSwindon) showcasing the infographics available on the SOTS website.

A different post will go out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week for three weeks and this is your chance for everyone to get involved in spreading the word so please do retweet and share in your networks.

Our next SOTS Ambassador’s event is going to be a bit different. Swindon Wildcats are very kindly hosting ambassadors for a match night on the 18th November at the Better Link Centre. Over 300 ambassadors have signed up to come along and experience the thrills of top flight ice hockey.

There are still some spaces left so if you are an ambassador already then sign up and if not then register as an ambassador at and come along.