CHANGES to the Wichel-stowe housing development are set to go before Swindon Council’s planning committee next week.

The council is looking to bring in a number of alterations to the original plan to build 4,500 homes on land between Old Town and the M4.

Among the changes are increasing the number of houses which need to be built, from 1,100 to 2,500, before key infrastructure is built ,as well as halving the percentage of affordable homes developers would need to include to 15 per cent.

If the changes are approved it will make the scheme more economically viable for developers, and so speed up the building process. It is understood there are nine companies waiting to move forward on the project if the committee gives the approval on Tuesday night, which planning officers have recommended they do.

Work has started on about 800 of the homes, as well as a Waitrose Supermarket. The council owns about 75 per cent of the remaining land.

Coun Mike Bawden (Con, Chiseldon and Lawn) believes the changes will give life to the project once again and solve problems created by the economic downturn which led to a housing market crash.

He said: “When planning was granted in 2005 the Wichelstowe project was due to be the gold standard in housing developments. “However, we all know what happened in 2008 and we now live in a very different world. Developers are cautious now so this will make it a more attractive proposal.

“If accepted it will speed everything up and fix a problem which was not of the councils making but one we have had to deal with.”

One of the other changes put forward was to alter the Croft Road and Hay Lane Link road so it went through the housing development.

Objections have been raised that this, along with an increase in the number of houses, will lead to an increase in traffic through Old Town and Wroughton.

But the Highways Agency has approved the plans, believing the reduction in commercial space means there will be less traffic.