Major Swindon employer WHSmith has agreed to sell part of its site at Greenbridge for housing.

But the company says it is staying its landmark site on Drakes Way.

Two years ago the company, which has 500 staff in Swindon, was given outline planning permission to build 134 flats and houses, a creche and a care home on the southern part of the plot.

Now that has been followed up by detailed proposals. But this time it has been lodged by housebuilding firm Keepmoat.

It shows in detail where the flats and houses will be placed, with access to the development for cars from Crampton Road and Greenbridge Road, and a footpath to Drakes Way.

But WHSmith's tower block and warehouses will stay and still be used by the company.

A spokesman for the high street newsagent and bookseller said: “We have now confirmed the sale of part of our High Street head office site in Greenbridge.

"We are committed to staying in Swindon and will be remaining in Greenbridge, with plans to relocate into our existing tower block on the site following a period of redevelopment over the coming months.”

A spokesman for Keepmoat confirmed that it has agreed to buy the site.

If the plans are approved, two three-storey blocks of flats will be built at either end of the rectangular site.

One will have 24 two-bedroom flats and the other the ‘inter-generational’ care home with another 18 two-bed apartments.

In between, the two roads nearly 90 houses will be arranged in rows around a central park designed as a ‘village square’ for the development.

The company’s application says: “The development creates a neighbourhood with its own distinctive character, incorporating a mix of uses including housing, care facilities and community use which together with the landscaping and careful choice of materials will create a strong sense of place.”

Roger Smith is one of Swindon Borough Council’s members for St Margaret and South Marston, which covers the site.

He said: “It’s very important to have the vote of confidence in Swindon and the area from WHSmith.

“It’s a major employer with high quality jobs and obviously we want to keep them here.”