Nearly 150 affordable flats will transform one of the major routes into the town centre, according to the borough council.

The authority’s own scheme for the site was approved by planners.

The flats will be built along Queens Drive on the site of the now-demolished George Gay Gardens sheltered housing and other nearby blocks.

Recommending the scheme, the council’s cabinet member for housing and public safety Cathy Martyn said: “This scheme will be at one of the main gateways into town, and this hasn’t been regenerated since the 1960s.

“This project an improved look and feel of the community in the area and will immensely improve the appearance of it.”

But the size of some of the flats was a bone of contention.

Coun Martyn said: “The most space is in the bedrooms and living rooms of the flats and there is more storage space, as people need that.”

But South Swindon Parish councillor Patrick Herring was not happy that the sizes of some of the flats did not meet government guidelines.

He said: “Those guidelines should be the bare minimum achieved, not an aspiration.

“The three-bed flats are too small.

“This committee should not let things pass because it comes from the borough council itself rather than another developer.”

The plans show the apartments as 85sq m, compared to the nationally-recommended minimum of 93sq m, but those standards have not yet been adopted by the council as policy, though they are in a design get setting out to developers what's expected.

Labour borough councillor for Mannington and Western Steph Excell asked: “Is it that those who are affordable accommodation have to sacrifice space for affordability? I don’t think that should be the case.”

Committee chairman Tim Swinyard said: “It’s just a fact that the bigger a flat is, the less affordable it is.

“One of the reason we struggle to get the right amount of affordable accommodation in private developments is that developers do a financial feasibility study and they are less affordable.”

Labour councillors Jane Milner-Barry and Jim Robbins wanted to send the plans back for a rethink.

Coun Milner-Barry said: “The construction does not address vital concerns over climate change. We need to get to zero carbon emissions by 2025, the council has set a target of 2030. “

See for a 'drive-through' video animation of how the new development will look