A FIRM message has been sent from the council chamber to the developer trying to build four houses in Lydiard Park - they’re not wanted.

At a meeting of the full council last week, councillors voted overwhelmingly to back a motion noting the “grave concern” of local residents over an application seeking the go-ahead to build on land at Brook Cottage.

The location is not just close to the much-loved park, it is actually inside it.

People would enter through the gate and travel along Hay Lane before reaching the access to the land where the houses, if permission was granted, would be built.

This places the development within the ‘essential setting’ of the park.

An earlier version of the motion put forward by ward councillor Tim Swinyard called on the council’s planning committee to reject the application.

But following legal advice aimed at protecting the council from any accusation of failing to adhere fully to planning legislation, councillors were instead asked merely to acknowledge the concerns of residents.

However, the intention of the motion is clear. It is designed to send a message that development of any kind at Lydiard Park is not on the table.

It is not the first motion of its kind to be backed by Swindon’s elected representatives. In September last year, the council registered its “unequivocal objection” to a bid by Taylor Wimpey to build homes within sight of St Mary’s Church and Lydiard House.

Coun Swinyard said: “Far too often we find ourselves split along party lines but I’m confident that will not be the case on this occasion.

“Lydiard Park is a particularly special place in the hearts of all of us - this development would put it at great risk.

“The houses would be visible from Lydiard which is grade two listed land and planting trees would do nothing to resolve this.”

Coun Swinyard’s motion was backed by his fellow ward councillor, Labour’s Matthew Courtliff.

Coun Courtliff said: “It’s sad that it seems we are going to have to spend the rest of our time on this council defending Lydiard Park - but rest assured, we will.”

Historic England is among a number of groups to register its strong concerns with the application, saying it would cause unnecessary harm to significant heritage assets.

The organisation’s inspector of historic buildings, Wendy Tomlinson, said: “By virtue of its siting the principle of development on this site is, in Historic England’s view, wholly unacceptable.”

A report from planning officers recommending whether or not to grant permission is expected within weeks.