A DEVELOPER has a “hidden agenda” to increase the swell the number of houses in a South Swindon development, councillors have said..

Liddington Parish Council fear that developers Persimmon and Redrow Homes are growing the number of homes on the Badbury Park site from 890 to 971.

But Persimmon acknowledged "additional contributions" would need to be made.

In a letter to borough council planners, clerk Val Curtis said:“We have concerns that there appears to be a somewhat hidden agenda to increase the number of dwellings from the original permission of up to 890 to [971], without additional mitigation measures being put in place for the increase in pressure on services, such as education, health, provision and the highways.

“This pressure has increased greatly since the original outline consent was granted on appeal more than five years ago.”

Her comments came as the parish council objected to an application to build a further 33 homes at Badbury Park. Developers Persimmon have also applied to build a further 48 houses.

South Swindon parish councillors followed their lead – blocking plans to build the new homes, a community centre and nursery.

Coun Nadine Watts, vice-chairman of the parish’s planning committee, said the centre was “too small” and had inadequate storage.

“It seems a very strange mix to have a community room and residential flats and then quite a substantial nursery at the back,” she said. “It’s an unusual mix. It seems like it’s not the best use of space.”

Coun Paul Dixon slammed the design of the 100sqm centre as “rubbish”: “You’ve got a disabled toilet and another toilet opening onto the meeting space and a little kitchen tagged on. That’s not how you design an appropriate space that is fit for people to meet in.”

Coun Chris Watts, chairman of the parish council, said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. Any new development always has an adequate community space. I’ve never seen a storeroom being used as a community facility.”

Coun John Firmin called for the centre plans to be revisited in light of the increase in the overall number of homes.

“Why have the planning officers not already have picked that up,” added planning committee chairman Barrie Thompson. “Now you’ve come forward with all this additional housing, you need to increase the size of the community facility or allocate a bigger piece of land that we can use at a later date.”

He added that the centre was “the stupidest I’ve ever seen”.

Planning permission for the controversial Badbury Park development was granted in 2012 by the secretary of state, after the council fought developers Persimmon and Redrow Homes all the way to Westminster.

In new applications, Persimmon have asked for permission to build another 33 homes. Redrow Homes have asked to build 28.

The bid to build a community facility, nursery and 20 homes was made in a joint application.

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Wessex said: "Within this application we acknowledge additional contributions will need to be delivered, over which we have expressed our desire to commence discussions with authorities.”

Redrow Homes said that their bid for 28 new homes would include seven affordable homes. A spokeswoman said: "This application will also provide additional community benefits, the detail of which is under discussion with Swindon Borough Council."

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said that the community centre, while small, was in line with the requirements of the outline planning permission.

He added: "It is unlikely more space would be achieved based on the addition of 81 homes which would take the total number of properties up to 971.

“We are of course keen to accelerate housing delivery so we can achieve a five-year housing supply in line with our Local Plan requirements. Badbury Park is an allocated site in the Local Plan, and also has Outline Planning consent. The applications must be considered in that context.”