HUNDREDS of residents flocked to the Civic Centre in Royal Wootton Bassett yesterday to view proposals to develop land on Marsh Farm.
Although an application has yet to be submitted to Wiltshire Council, developers have shown an interest in the site and have appealed to the public for feedback to the proposals.
The proposals to build 300 new homes and a Tesco supermarket on land to the west of the Marsh Farm Hotel has proved a controversial issue among many residents, with many disagreeing with the plans.
But some residents, such as Alan Telling, believes that a new Tesco and extra housing will be of great benefit to the town.
The 31-year-old, of Lime Kiln, said: “I think I would shop there at a Tesco. I go to Asda at the moment for my shopping and it’s a long way to go if you have to go on the bus.
“I think in the long term it’ll be good to have a Tesco there, especially if they build the houses as well they are going to need it.”
The public exhibition, which continues from 10am-6pm today, displays architects’ drawings of the proposals for the site, which will include accommodation for elderly people, a community facility and an open space including an extension to the nearby sports hub.
There were also representatives from the development team, which is being led by Leda Properties, on hand.
Sophie Akokhia, corporate affairs manager at Tesco, said: “We are still waiting to hear what people have to say and what they think about the proposals before we put in an application.
“When we go over the feedback forms that will help us form the application.
“The council’s own information shows that there is a need and a capacity for these homes and a new supermarket.
“It won’t compete against the High Street because the people who use their butcher and their green grocers won’t change their habits just because there’s a new supermarket. We really support those specialised, independent shops that you find on the high street, and they attract a different kind of customer.
“It’s also going to create 150 new jobs, and I’ve had tons of applications being sent in from people who really want to work in Bassett where they have to work in Swindon at the moment.”
But there are many residents in Royal Wootton Bassett who disagree with the plans entirely, believing that it will take away more of the ever-decreasing stretches of countryside.
Bob Austin, 72, said: “I don’t think anything should go on that site.
“All this development is like a cancer, it’s eating away at the countryside bit by bit.
“It’s the youngsters I worry about, they’re not going to have any countryside left.”