The impact of building 400 houses on some disused railway sidings in the centre of Swindon does not need investigating according to planners at the borough council.

That's despite the proposed site, running along the railway lines north of Dean Street and the park behind Newburn Crescent as far at Wootton Bassett Road being used by a variety of wildlife, according to local councillors.

Developers One Swindon Ltd are looking at applying to build 400 houses on the strip of land and applied to the borough council for a decision on whether it needed to conduct an environmental impact assessment.

The company's application said: "Owing to the site’s history, the railway sidings currently possesses an industrial feel. Part of the site is currently being used as a construction compound for the GWR electrification works.

"As such, it represents a long linear site of disused, brownfield land sustainably located within the town centre of Swindon and represents a suitable location for residential development."

The decision by council planners is that a formal environmental impact assessment is not required, but adds: "There are a number of issues that will need to be addressed though the application process: air quality; contamination – the contamination of the site is well known; noise and vibration."

Ward Councillor Bob Wright has written to the planners at Euclid Street expressing opposition to the site coming forward as being suitable for so many houses.

He wrote: "There are protected species on both the sidings land and bank. These include badgers, slow worms, crested newts as well as two types of deer."

Mr Wright also reckons the nature of the construction of the man-made sidings makes them unsuitable for houses: "The sidings behind Dean Street is an artificial railway bank/land made up of clinker. Due to its construction, location, inherent drainage and stability problems we have opposed residential development on the site.

"The land is like an island with no road links and which will be expensive and difficult to install. Residential development will have significant impact due to the nature of the site and its location."

No formal planning application has yet been made to put houses on the site