Builders and developers who want to put up houses as Swindon expands will have to make significant attempts to discourage single car use - and to encourage their residents to walk, cycle or get the bus into town.

But not everyone is impressed by the aims of a new council guide to builders. Some think it doesn’t go far enough in cutting car use.

Transport planning manager at Swindon Borough Council Alison Curtis introduced the updated plans to councillors before it goes out to consultation.

She said the threshold for making a transport plan mandatory will come down from 80 houses to 60: “We found that there were a lot of developments of about 60 to 70 houses, and there was no transport plan being produced, so we want to lower the number.”

Developers will be allowed to produce a transport plan in one of two ways - they can ask, and pay Swindon Borough Council to produce their plan on their behalf, or they can produce one themselves which would have to be approved by the council.

The point will be to make developers build in more sustainable transport solutions to their new estates, rather than assuming everyone will travel by car.

Plans will have to provide car travel disincentives, perhaps by managing parking and by encouraging and even offering incentives for local journeys and commutes to be made by sustainable means.

Walking and cycling must be promoted, by use of walking maps for site users, borrow-a-bike-schemes, the creation of cycling clubs or cycle user groups and secure cycle sheds. Similar incentives, such as a week’s free bus pass and making bus timetable information available, should be created for public transport.

Coun Jane Milner-Barry said: “The plan says that we should be aiming at an eight to 10 per cent cut in single car trips, and even that can be negotiable. It’s not being asked to achieve a great deal.

“With issues of climate change, congestion, road safety and the safety of children, a cut of 10 per cent in single car use doesn’t seem very much.”

Stephen Davey drives to work outside Swindon, but rides his bike for trips into town from his Liden home.

He said: “The bicycle provision isn’t too bad here - it could be better, but it could be a lot worse.

“The trouble is, this town has been very much built around cars for decades, and it’s hard to undo that in just a few years.”

The new policy will be put to consultation in September.