GREEN space at a new development could prove too posh for a Swindon parish to take on.

South Swindon Parish Council said it had been contacted by Nationwide Building Society about taking over responsibility for maintaining a park and green space at the new 239-home development on the former Oakfield Campus site.

But parish councillors this week heard the cost of looking after the swanky park in the Park North development might be too pricey.

Jake Mee, deputy clerk, told the parish’s amenities committee that estimates put the annual maintenance cost of green space at Oakfield at £45,000. However, the parish was only expected to get an income of around £20,000 from the precept paid by Oakfield householders.

“The sums don’t really add up,” Mr Mee said.

Councillors were told the parish might initially get a cash boost from contributions paid into the council coffers by developers, including Section 106 monies and a community infrastructure levy.

However, Mr Mee said Nationwide were interested in the parish council taking on a 99 year lease for the park and green space at Oakfield: “In the first five years it would pay for itself, but we’re talking about a 99 year lease.” He added: “We don’t like to commit 100 per cent of a development’s precept just to its open space.”

Neil Hopkins, chairman of the committee, said: “I’m not sure this is really a surprise. When we had the presentation from them we were aware there was going to be a chunk of open space and it was looking very nice.”

Councillors criticised any idea that some areas in the parish might be managed by gardeners to a better standard than others with, for example, more frequent grass cutting.

Steve Allsopp, parish councillor for Walcot and Park North, said as a principle he couldn’t accept a situation where one park was managed to a standard “over and above what’s being offered elsewhere”.He added: “If we can’t get an agreement I think we might need to walk away and say [to them], ‘You can set up your own maintenance company.”

And John Firmin, a town centre councillor, added: “We’ve got to be careful about not creating precedents for other developers. In 20 to 30 to 40 years’ time we don’t know where we will be.”

Nationwide wants the Oakfield development to be an example of how corporations can invest in social and affordable housing in their home towns. It is a not-for-profit development.

The building society was approached for comment.