Dynamic, ambitious and modern. Three words that perfectly sum up our town.

Economic figures show we already punch way above our weight when compared to other towns and cities, but “Swindon the place” is also evolving.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the council chamber on Tuesday evening where two developments that will transform Swindon over the coming years were given outline planning permission.

As many as 8,000 new homes have been earmarked for the New Eastern Villages, known as “the NEV”, over the next decade and the first phase of that development was approved by the council’s planning committee this week.

Some 2,380 homes will be built to the east of Swindon and north of the A420 and this sustainable urban extension will also include 40 hectares of employment land and associated retail, community and leisure facilities, and two new primary schools.

The town’s population is growing at a rapid rate and we need to build more homes to keep up with demand. But the NEV is not about building new houses just for the sake of it. Like our proposed Canalside development at Wichelstowe, we want to create communities that will attract people to Swindon, which is why the NEV will look to create a village feel with a big emphasis on creating green corridors, playing fields and allotments.

Of course when building new communities you also have to think about leisure opportunities for people and they don’t come much bigger than the other major proposal discussed by councillors at the planning meeting.

The council has had a long-held ambition to create a regional leisure destination in the town which will not only benefit those that live here, but also attract people from far and wide to boost our economy.

I was therefore delighted that the outline plans to create the indoor ski slope at North Star were also approved. Seven Capital, which is delivering the £270m scheme, is aiming to submit detailed plans in the New Year and work could start on site by the end of next year.

I am told the ski slope itself could be the longest in the UK, while plans are being developed to build the biggest IMAX screen in the country. This development will create hundreds of jobs, not to mention the benefits it will bring to local businesses.

A number of new building and regeneration projects are already now underway, such as the new Metro Bank in the town centre, and we have aspirations to rejuvenate our railway station to open up access to the station from the North Star side.

And with the newly-electrified railway set to transport passengers to London in just 45 minutes, Swindon really will be in the fast lane. We are on the cusp of a very exciting journey indeed.