A friendship initiative between the Cirencester Town Council and The Regional Council of Bathurst in New South Wales Australia has been given the green light and a document has been signed in both the town and the city.

Plans for the friendship agreement started during Bathurst's bicentennial year of 2015 following a visit to the city by the ninth Earl and Countess Bathurst, whose farmland, park, businesses and home are in Cirencester.

Since then there has been a number of delegate exchanges between the two locations, including a then 18-year old Alice Chandler went to Bathurst last October on a trip funded by the Cirencester Community Development Trust in collaboration with Cirencester Town Council.

The focus of the agreement will be on joint business and tourism interests, sporting, academic, cultural and artistic activities; Bathurst Regional Council intends to send a delegation to Cirencester in late summer to confirm the friendship agreement.

Bathurst council’s corporate services and finance director Aaron Jones says: "The Friendship Agreement will explore opportunities for the collaborative development of research, the organisation of joint academic, cultural and artistic activities, the exchange of research teaching personnel and students, the exchange of publications and other materials of common interest, the exchange of business and commercial interest and such other collaborative activities that may be agreed between the parties."

The initial friendship agreement with Cirencester will be for a period of three years.

Cllr Mark Harris of Cirencester Town Council has also personally visited Bathurst and is pleased the agreement has been finally signed.

He said: “This is great news for the town and for the city.

"I made a lot of connections over there as did Simon (King) and Lord Bathurst.

"There are many ways we can help, engage with and enjoy each others’ company.”

Now the agreement has been officially signed in by both councils Cllr Harris and Simon King will be heading back to Australia and Bathurst to look at developing business relationships as well as exploring a retail idea that is in fruition.

Cirencester mayor, Patrick Coleman added: “I am really pleased to be able to support this unique initiative by formally signing the agreement on behalf of Cirencester Town Council.

"Simon King’s work has helped to identify a number of possible opportunities for co-operative work, particularly in e-commerce.”