Big steps forward are taking place in Reading, Oxford and Swindon even though much of our world stays in Covid limbo.

In Oxford, the city council has advertised for a regeneration manager as it drives an imaginative scheme to fill empty spaces with creative entrepreneurs.

In Swindon, the £25 million grant for the Bus Boulevard is a positive improvement at the very heart of its regeneration.

And in Reading, it seems the push to create something truly special at the gaol, might have turned a significant corner with Ministry of Justice’s decision to allow the council a chance to state its case for the much-desired culture and arts centre.

Add to that this Wednesday’s meeting at which the next two phases of Reading’s Station Hill scheme could be approved and it would seem the property and development world is champing at the bit to get going.

Add to those the latest high-rise scheme in Woking, the regeneration of Newbury, Maidenhead and Aldershot, major developments in and around Basingstoke, Slough’s continued resurgence and the eventual arrival of Crossrail and you start to see a impressive pipeline.

Of course, much of this remains at the starting line while we hope that this is the year we get over the hurdles Covid has presented us.

But the scale of this pent-up demand illustrates, yet again, that, given the financial crisis lying in our path, there can be few regions better placed than the Thames Valley to come through it a winner.

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