Around 200 representatives from towns across the country will descend on Chippenham next week for the Action for Market Towns annual convention.

The prestigious event comes to the town for the first time, after it was given the opportunity of showcasing recent successful initiatives including the community plan, youth strategy and the development of the river as a key asset to the town.

John Clark, of the Chippenham and Villages Area Partnership said: “It is quite a coup for us to win the hosting of this national event, especially as it is the first time it has been held in the south west.

“People from the town council, Wiltshire Council and the Chippenham and Villages Area Partnership are all working together for the first time to make this a success.

“We have got to work really hard to get it ready, but we are now on the final lap.”

Plans for the event have been under way since the beginning of the year when organisers were told they had won the right to host the 200 representatives for two days.

“We had to put together a series of study tours as part of our application to host the event,” said Mr Clark. “So some of the work was already done before we knew we had won it.

“We had to give a long list of things we have achieved locally so they would know it was worth them coming to Chippenham.”

The event will be centred around the town hall and the Neeld Hall, while on Tuesday afternoon delegates will be taken around Chippenham to learn about its recent successes.

The study tours will explain the consultation process behind a master plan for the future of the town, the new strategy for the provision of youth services and how organisations are working together to develop tourism.

Out of town there will be a visit to Kington St Michael to showcase the work of the Chippenham and Villages Environmentalists thermal imaging project, which enables residents to measure the heat loss from their homes.