Businesses gear for growth at ‘Building Swindon Together’ networking event

By Anita Jaynes on May 05, 2014

The inaugural ‘Building Swindon Together’ networking event, chaired and hosted by The National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) on Thursday 01 May, saw an open and insightful look at how redevelopment and regeneration plans will benefit Swindon & Wiltshire businesses.

Attended by over 30 local business and representatives, the event was opened by NSBRC General Manager David Murphy who affirmed the Centre’s commitment to Swindon as being a central educational ‘hub’ for those interested in self-build, renovation and home improvement.  With the current shortage in housing supply against demand, NSBRC’s core role is to facilitate the growth of the UKs housing market – both in numbers and quality – by enabling and empowering people to custom build their homes.  David highlighted that due to its central, convenient location, visitors from across the length and breadth of the country regularly attend the Centre’s courses, workshops and Shows, helping to support the local business economy.

Isobel Brown, Director of Partnerships and Programmes, Swindon & Wiltshire Local Education Partnership presented key points of interest:

  • Identified three  growth ‘zones’ for Wiltshire: Swindon, A350 corridor, South Wiltshire – on the belief that these areas will bring the most economic growth and the proposed development of 31,000 homes in these zones 2015-2021
  • SWLEP will aim to deliver higher education opportunities to create a skilled workforce and benefit businesses
  • Create a pilot initiative to accelerate the development of public sector land to meet housing demands
  • Support ex-forces with skills provision and to allow for retrospective ‘learning credits’ to be apportioned, giving personnel relevant qualifications for local businesses
  • Improve transport routes in Wiltshire by attracting additional funding from Dept of Transport
  • Creation of business ‘hubs’ in Corsham, Swindon & Salisbury to negate factor of university town

Isobel also highlighted that the ‘Growth Hub’ set up to support SMEs across Swindon & Wiltshire has already attracted over 120 applications for grant funding.

With a reputation for breathing new life into Cardiff with the successful Cardiff Bay redevelopment project, Chris Hitchings, Director of Development at Forward Swindon outlined the plans for Swindon that will place it firmly on the map as a destination of choice for leisure and business.

Current projects such as Kimmerfields, Corn Exchange, the Oasis and Regent Circus will all serve to enhance Swindon and connect both Old Town and New Town, whilst future long-term projects such as the Churchward (housing development), North Star (ski slope & music arena), Station Bridge, Swindon Designer Outlet and University Technical College (opening Sept 2014) will undoubtedly attract new visitors, students and businesses to the Town.

David Murphy, General Manager, added, “We were encouraged by the healthy attendance of so many local businesses to this new networking event and delighted at the response to the NSBRC being a unique and interesting meeting and conference venue.  Such was the success of this focused event that we are considering making it a regular fixture on the NSBRC calendar.”