CONSTRUCTION has begun on the controversial site of 700 new homes at Ridgeway Farm, as residents brace themselves for months of disruption.

Planning permission was finally granted for the first 218 homes on December 10 after holding objections were withdrawn from Network Rail, Thames Water, and Scottish and Southern Electricity.

Concerns around the layout and impact of the development on the northern border of Peatmoor have been raised by a number of Swindon residents, councillors and MPs.

The county council received more than 200 objections from residents, but did not bring the plans back in for consultation.

And construction vehicles moved onto the site on Friday, ahead of the first homes being put on the market in the coming months.

Annabella Pires, 42, of Botley Copse, which borders the site, said it had always been a losing battle against developers Taylor Wimpey. She said: “The developers will do what they want to do, and this is just another example of green space being lost forever.

“There are more than 1,000 buildings boarded up empty in Swindon, and the best thing to do would be to use those spaces rather than leaving them abandoned.

“We have been fighting this for too long, and you can sign the petitions and speak out against it, but it seems like it is all a wasted effort. Several times we thought we had won, but then it just goes ahead.

“They have decided they want to do it, and you can’t stop them once they have made up their minds.

“In rush hour these roads are always jammed, and now we can expect construction vehicles to be coming and going. Then all we have to look forward to is an extra 700 cars all trying to get through the same space.

“It is just a real shame this has happened. We expect a lot of disruption, and there is already extra traffic coming through.”

Richard Symonds, 62, of Shaw, said: “Mead Way is congested as it is from one end to the other, and this will just add to that misery.

“When you have got a full estate at one end of Swinley Drive and Mead Way, imagine what that will do to the road network.

“The developers have been let off here, after all the objections were withdrawn and the planning authorities were powerless to stop it.

“The government have to be held culpable for this by saying that anything goes in the name of building more houses.”

Kevin Fisher, chair of the Shaw Resident’s Association, said: “The Shaw Resident’s Association is firmly of the view that the form, scale and layout of the proposals and related highway and vehicular infrastructure will have a harmful impact on the local transport network and traffic movement in the locality, to the detriment of the local community.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received approval for the first phase of 220 homes together with a new primary school and infrastructure at Ridgeway Farm.

“We are now looking forward to releasing the first new homes for sale shortly, with work on the primary school due to commence in late 2015.”