Hundreds of signatures calling on the council to protect green spaces in Toothill were handed into to Swindon Mayor Junab Ali.

Local residents Kayleigh Maher and Amy Lever have been walking the streets and knocking on doors, and got 570 people to sign their call opposing “the sale and development of the Bodiam Drive open spaces and any other open space within the Toothill area.”

At the end of last year they were successful in getting a curved mound of green land that separates Bodiam Drive from the Great Western Way dual carriageway removed from the council’s strategic housing land availability assessment.

But they are still concerned about green spaces in the west Swindon suburb being nibbled away, especially for small developments of housing, by the council’s own housing company.

Kayleigh told Mayor Ali: “These green spaces make a real difference to the quality of our lives in Toothill. Lots of people aren’t able to get out to Lydiard Park easily, but to be able to go straight out of your door and have a walk is wonderful.”

The young mum added: “We’re going to get some more signatures before next week. We’ve spoken to about two people who weren’t that bothered - they weren’t in favour of developing the green spaces, but they weren’t against it. Everyone else is very worried about it.

“Once these spaces are lost, then they are lost for ever.”

The Mayor took the petition and indicated he was sympathetic to the women’s cause: “I’m very proud of Swindon being such a green town, and I hope our elected representatives listen to what the people of Swindon say.

“I won’t be speaking when this item comes up to council - I shall just be referring the debate of the other councillors.”

At next Thursday’s council meeting, Mannington and Western councillor Stephanie Exell will put forward a motion saying: “A cabinet member decision note from the deputy leader of the council had been consulted on proposing to dispose of four sites along Bodiam Drive to the private sector for housing through the Swindon Housing Company” and that the council is “concerned that there has been no announcement from the deputy leader that his proposal to sell-off parcels of land for development have been scrapped.”

The motion requests that all green spaces in Toothill be removed form the SHELAA, that the proposal to use four parcels of greenery along Bodiam Drive for housing should be withdrawn, and that local councillors be informed of all sites being looked at by the housing company.”

The borough council set up it’s housing company in order to identify land it owns, and build houses, typically in small numbers, to sell on the open market. It hopes then to be able to use the money from those sales to fund its services.

The meeting begins at 7pm on Thursday January 24.

As well as the Toothill motion, councillors will discuss a motion on climate change, one on domestic abuse and a similar motion on protecting land in Lakeside.

Any resident can put a petition on the borough council’s website

You can lodge a petition on the borough council’s website.

For a petition to be debated at a full council meeting, it must have a minimum number of signatures For issues affecting only one ward: 350 signatures, for those affecting only two or three wards: 750 signatures, all other issues: 1500 signatures.