AMBITIOUS multi-million pound plans to build hundreds of homes on an old university campus have been approved.

Nationwide’s redevelopment of Walcot's former Oakfield Campus into a not-for-profit community project will include 239 new homes for sale or rent, with 71 of them designated as affordable housing.

The area that has been left levelled and vacant for more than a decade will feature a park with a children’s play area, a community meeting space and links to nearby amenities.

Nationwide chief executive Joe Garner said: “We are delighted to receive approval to deliver a long-lasting, high quality development in collaboration with local residents and Swindon Borough Council.

“As a building society we were founded to help improve housing, rather than maximising profit and shareholder return. Helping create these new homes and a thriving community is a great example of how we are guided by our purpose of building society, nationwide.”

The development is part of the building society’s five-year social investment programme which has seen it invest around £50 million in the region. Any profits made from this scheme will be reinvested into other Nationwide community projects.

Construction by Piper Javelin No 1 Ltd is expected to start by the end of the year and the first phase of homes should be available from spring 2021.

Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning Gary Sumner said: “This development ticks a lot of boxes for the council and builds on the excellent, and award-winning, design standards we have seen across a number of new developments in Swindon.

“It is exactly the reason why we chose Nationwide as our partner to deliver local homes on the Oakfield site.

“The design of the homes is absolutely exceptional. However, it’s not just about the high quality of design and development, but also the improvements and benefits it will bring to the existing community.”

The new homes will be mainly terraced houses and maisonettes with a small block of apartments, all with at least one parking space and access to a private or shared garden.

Design team Igloo Regeneration partnered with Nationwide to create homes that are focused on energy efficiency, light and space with high ceiling, big windows and terraces made with traditional materials.

The development near Marlowe Avenue aims to encourage a greater sense of community between neighbours of all ages. Nationwide will continue its dialogue between nearby residents and businesses which have helped shape the proposal since it was first announced.

The site was used by Park Grammar School and then Oakfield School from the 1950s until the turn of the century. After that, the University of Bath used the site until 2008.