A 62-home development moved one stage closer to being approved, as planners recommended councillors vote it through.

But councillors and campaigners are unhappy, with one warning that developers “can effectively build where they like”.

Developers Taylor Wimpey have applied for planning permission to build up to 62 houses on Ambrose Field, farmland off Croft Road. The Old Town development would include up to 19 “affordable” homes.

The scheme has excited local feeling, with a recent public meeting to discuss the development attracting over 50 angry local residents.

Nadine Watts, borough councillor for Old Town and East Wichel, said, “I really hope that the planning committee will listen to the concerns of local residents and stand up for the local plan.

“This is not about nimbyism, it about protecting land that is not designated or suitable to build on. Despite the Council developing a Local Plan which allocated land where the required number of houses could be built, it appears that developers can effectively build where they like.

“Residents also had a number of concerns including flooding, drainage, loss of green space, impact on wildlife and impact on traffic.”

Old Town councillors Nadine Watts and Claire Ellis have called the application in to be discussed at a meeting of Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee next Tuesday.

A petition calling on councillors to refuse the development permission has been signed by over 670 people.

Petition organiser Marco Di Pinto will be speaking against the application at next week’s planning committee. He said: “This green area is not designated for house building in the Swindon local plan and is not suitable for construction, being boggy land with natural springs and adjacent to a nature conservation area.”

Most council officers, including those responsible for flooding and highways, have not raised any objection to the development – although they had earlier demanded planners clarify their plans around flood water management.

The council’s landscape officer warned that current play area identified in the plans was insufficient, while footpaths shown leading into a proposed nature area were “inappropriate”.

Central Swindon South Parish Council have previously objected to the application on several grounds, including the fact that the site was not earmarked for development in the local plan.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, Coun Claire Ellis and parish councillor Nick Burns-Howell have also objected to the application, saying that 90 per cent of residents they have spoken to oppose the development.

Council planning officers said they had been sent 71 letters supporting the application and 139 in opposition.

Struan Power, strategic land and planning manager at Taylor Wimpey, said "We hope to be able to bring an additional 62 much needed new homes to Swindon, which so many local people say they want to see.

"We will continue to work with Swindon Council and residents to ensure that if our proposals are approved, as per officer recommendations, we will create a new development for families to enjoy for generations to come".