Local politics is full of highs and lows, so I was incredibly grateful local residents saw fit to deliver the former in the shape of a huge vote of confidence in my colleagues who were standing in this year’s borough elections.

To secure a 15-seat majority is unprecedented for our party and I promise every single person who voted for my party last week that we will work tirelessly to deliver for our wonderful town.

There were some really great candidates from all parties who put themselves forward to represent their residents in wards across Swindon and they all fought hard to secure as many votes as possible. I would like to congratulate all those councillors who were elected for the first time, or re-elected, and wish those who were unsuccessful the very best of luck in the future.

Although I am naturally delighted with the performance of the Conservatives, it is tempered somewhat by the fact that we have lost some absolute stalwarts from the council chamber. Labour councillor Bob Wright, who was a great adversary for so many years, stood down after staying on an extra year when he was needed most due to COVID putting paid to last year’s elections. Longstanding Lib Dem councillor Stan Pajak lost his campaign in Eastcott ward and well-respected Labour councillor Steve Allsopp, previously ‘Father of the House’ was also unsuccessful. They will be greatly missed by their communities and, I’m sure, councillor colleagues across the board.

Elsewhere, there are also new councillors in the seats that were vacant following the sad passing of Des Moffatt and Brian Mattock. Both Des and Brian left big shoes to fill and if the new incumbents work even half as hard as Des and Brian, their residents will be more than pleased.

Now the elections are over, our attention has very quickly turned to what is going to be a massive job in helping the town recover from the COVID pandemic. A big part of that work will be to kick-start our local economy and the recent UK Powerhouse report described how Swindon is expected to have one of the UK’s fastest-growing local economies by the end of this year.

There is confidence in our town as demonstrated by Panattoni’s commitment to investing over a billion pounds in major employment sites in the east of the town, including the Honda site.

We have the new Zurich state-of-the-art HQ really beginning to take shape in the town centre and the funding is in place to further rejuvenate this area with the redevelopment of Fleming Way.

With a further £19m secured from the Government’s Towns Fund, more than £100m is also currently being spent on major roads and junctions to unlock housing and employment land in the Borough.

But we won’t stop there. The Government’s Levelling Up agenda has already seen us benefit from tens of millions in funding and we will continue to make sure Swindon gets its fair share so we bounce back strongly from the pandemic.

The Queen’s Speech on Tuesday also outlined the Government’s Environment Bill and we look forward to building on our own Climate Change Strategy and creating a cleaner, greener Swindon for all our residents.

There is much still to do, but last week’s election results means we can get back to delivering it.