CONTROVERSIAL plans to build eight houses, plus offices, on a country farmyard have returned.

Lower Burytown Farms Ltd was originally given permission to construct the houses arranged around the three sides of a square in the yard of Manor Farm in Queens Road, on the western edge of Hannington to the west of Highworth.

That permission was challenged by Guillame Molhant-Proost, the owner of Hannington Hall, who was allowed a judicial review of the decision. Swindon Borough Council decided it wasn’t certain enough of victory to defend its decision and it accepted a court judgement to quash the consent in March.

Now the developer has brought its application back to the council – and officers have recommended that it be approved.

The plans show houses arranged around one courtyard, while offices in five separate blocks would be built in an adjacent yard. Three agricultural buildings would be knocked down.

The developers said: “All buildings are individual designs which will create a varied and attractive form through the height, width and length of buildings. These ranges are not designed as replica farm buildings correct to every detail but are intended to convey the general character of a traditional courtyard group whilst providing modern homes, avoiding overly domestic forms and styles.”

The planners at the borough council said: “There is some conflict as to whether the scheme represents a sustainable location for new housing. Officers are of the opinion there are significant benefits to the scheme in securing the long-term use of the site particularly the employment element, combined with sympathetic designs.”

Not everyone agrees with the planners.

Leon Howell, who lives nearby, said: “My privacy will be affected as I would have windows looking out onto my garden, where at the moment there is only the back of a barn.

“There will be a big noise problem through the building work and the ongoing additional office and industrial units where at the moment it is a peaceful quiet part of the village.

“There will be a big light problem as there will be street lighting and the car parks will be floodlit, but at the moment it is very dark with no street lights which is great for the wildlife but also is part of the character of Hannington.”

Plans are available on using reference S/17/1114