A PLANNING consultation will need to be re-run, after an admin mess-up saw the wrong hotel booked for an open day.

It meant members of the public were forced to drive six miles down the road to another venue to see the plans.

Developers Hills want to build 70 homes on land west of Day House Lane, near Junction 15. The homes bid is the latest to be proposed near the Great Western Hospital.

Advertisements published this week said residents should visit the Dorcan Way Holiday Inn for a consultation event where they could find out more about the developers’ plans.

When they got there, however, they were sent to the Holiday Inn Express near Junction 16, around six miles away.

Hills bosses and planning agents Pro Vision apologised for the error. They said another event would be run in July.

Jeremy Higgins, planning director at consultants Pro Vision, hoped an application for planning permission could be submitted by September. If successful, work could start within two years.

Of the 70 homes, 30 per cent would be affordable. The scheme would be of “benefit for people who are living in frankly unsuitable housing”.

But the development could prove unpopular. It follows an announcement by Persimmon and Redrow they hope to build an extra 300 homes on land until now earmarked for industrial use.

Fionuala Foley, cabinet member for highways and ward councillor for the area, said: “I’m very disappointed that this site has come forward. I thought the inspector who heard the appeal in 2011 had closed off development in that area.

“I’m concerned about the highway impact on Day House Lane and Badbury Park. It’s 70 houses now, but looking at the site, there’s twice as much land again that could come over the years.”

Swindon is under growing pressure from developers, who say the council has failed to meet house-building targets set by government. By failing to hit the targets set out in the five-year housing supply plans, the council’s local planning policies may be ruled out of date.

South Swindon Parish Council, who will be asked to scrutinise any planning application submitted on behalf of Hills, has previously described developers as having the council “over a barrel”.

But Mark Tinson, business development manager for Hills, denied the situation was controversial. Taking a more conciliatory tone, he said: “The country has to build as many houses now as we build back in the 70s. There’s been probably wholesale failure from the councils, developers and central government. We’re working closer than ever with the council.”

Swindon was growing in importance, given quick transport links to London and Bristol, he said: “It’s a town that’s on the rise. It’s becoming a central hub again.”

What do Pro Vision and Hills say?

The firms have offered an unreserved apology to members of the public who were provided with incorrect details on the venue. 

Nick King, group director for Hills Homes, said: “This is extremely regrettable and embarrassing as we know that people are interested in our proposals, but were unfortunately directed to the wrong venue.  We are running the event again to ensure that local people get to be part of a valid consultation.”

The additional consultation event will be held at The Holiday Inn, Dorcan Way, Swindon SN3 6AQ (entrance to the venue is off Dorcan Way / B4006) on Thursday, July 12, 2pm - 9pm.