Planning officers at Swindon Borough Council can expect a bulging postbag at the end of the month.

Campaigners from one of Swindon’s villages are hoping to inundate them with letters of opposition to a proposed industrial development they say will ruin the countryside around the town.

Wanborough residents packed the villages’ hall for the second meeting of the South Swindon Protection Group- set up to oppose the plans put forward by Wasdell Group - a pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution company based in Blagrove -to build a new factory and warehouse just east of the A419 near the village.

The group is opposed to the plan on several grounds, but mainly because they fear it will begin the process of urbanising the green land between Swindon proper and Wanborough, and the damage they fear to the North Wessex Downs AONB which borders the proposed site.

One of the organisers, Linda Cripps told the meeting: "We want to get 1,000 letters of objection into the council by the deadline of January 31.

“Tell your friend, or your neighbours about this campaign - there are people who think this proposal is so ludicrous that it couldn’t possibly get passed by the council - but that’s not the case. This could very easily happen if we don’t make the feelings of the village known.”

John Warr, who set up the group appealed to the attendees for help with funding the campaign, with writing to the council and emphasised it was a David versus Goliath battle.

He said: “We are going to ask for an extension for comments to be submitted. We need to aim to get 1,000 letters in to the council by the end of January, but some of the official consultees have asked for an extension as well - we’re going to ask for an extension until the end of February.

“Wasdell and their land promoters and agent Turley have had two years working on this already, and they put in 183 separate documents just before Christmas- it took council officers there days to upload them all to the planning website.

“We are just ordinary people from Wanborough, and none of us have any planning experience. We’ve been ploughing through all the document.”

Mr Warr said the group needed to raise £10,000 initially to be able to hire professional planning and legal advice.

It will also be holding letter-writing workshops for residents who want to object to the company’s proposals at the Harrow Inn in Wanborough on Saturdays 12 and 19 10am to noon and Monday 14th and Mon 21st 6pm to 8.00pm.

Wasdell Group's application is in two parts: one is an application for full permission for the new manufacturing, warehousing and distribution centre. The second is an outline proposal for more research and development buildings - the ‘science park’ - which might be used by other companies.

It says it needs the site for expansion and permission will bring more jobs to Swindon, and also attract high technology and science-based companies to the town, bringing more high quality jobs.

A spokesperson for Wasdell Properties said: “We have been working on these proposals for two years, but that work has not been in isolation. We’ve liaised closely with council planners and other stakeholders to draw up comprehensive plans, for the exact reason that we want to be transparent. We want everyone, including residents, to be clear about what we hope to do and how we plan to do it.

“We held a widely publicised consultation event, very well attended by 158 residents, most of whom came from Wanborough. We understand the number of documents required for any application of this type might seem daunting, which is why our specialists in all disciplines, including transport, drainage, landscaping, ecology, heritage and architecture were there to discuss the plans with residents and listen to feedback. People were invited to let us have their views in writing and we had 137 written responses over the following six weeks.

“That feedback appears in the Statement of Community Involvement included in the planning application, together with our responses which we hope residents will also find helpful.”