THE PEOPLE of Chiseldon gathered at a public consultation to raise their concerns over a proposed housing development in the village.

Most residents attending the event opposed the plans which would see up to 30 houses built between New Road and The Ridgeway. Developers Castlewoods Investments and Impact Planning Services submitted an updated application in April, but they will face fierce resistance from locals who do not wish to see the nine-acre site built on.

Residents criticised the plan on the grounds of environmental impact, congestion, and flooding risks. Those in favour welcomed the idea of having more homes for family members to move into.

They have until June 20 to submit their feedback to Swindon Borough Council.

Caroline Brady, chair of the Chiseldon Parish Council, hosted the event at the Chiseldon House Hotel. She began by reading a statement from the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, who said: “Development has been consistently opposed on this site. The primary purpose of the AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area.

“The scale of the development would overly urbanise the approach to the village, dominating the wider open countryside to the detriment of the natural beauty of the AONB and its special qualities.”

Swindon Borough Council will ultimately decide whether the planning application is accepted or rejected after considering evidence from a range of consultees. Fionuala Foley, cabinet member of highways and the environment, fielded questions from Chiseldonians on Monday. She will be in the council meeting when the authority makes its decision.

Ms Foley told the Adver: “I implore each and every one of them to write to the planning officer and make sure the officer is aware of the strong grounds they have.

“It’s not a case of nimbyism, that’s not the point here, it is a beautiful green open space that they wish to keep a green open space and it would impact on the views of the Ridgeway, Liddington Castle, and it’s an absolute no as far as residents are concerned.”

Public design documents show the residential area would be accessed via two additional junctions on New Road and The Ridgeway. Cycle paths, open spaces and over 100 parking spaces also feature in the plans. Extra tree coverage would act as a visual buffer to neighbouring streets.

Mike Spreckley of Chiseldon said: “My whole objection is that it is an area of outstanding natural beauty which has the highest level of protection the same as national parks and you can’t build on it.

“It’s not just because it’s in our back garden, it’s because people truly believe that it needs to be protected.”

Paul Campbell was among the pocket of residents in favour of the development. He said: “I think people have to be prepared to make some compromises with their environment. Sometimes you might have to lose a few trees or a nice view or something like that in order to address the national housing shortage which is getting to a critical stage.

“I have a stepson and I want him to be able to afford a reasonably priced house and I’m sure lots of other families are in the same situation.”

Anyone who wishes to add comments to the plans can do so on the Swindon Borough Council website. Residents can also send queries about the development to the Chiseldon Parish clerk by emailing: