A BID to build 250 new homes in Highworth has been criticised by residents.

Agricultural land to the south of the town off Shrivenham Road could be earmarked for the development.

Land promoter Gladman Developments has asked for an opinion from planners at Swindon Borough Council whether an environmental impact assessment is needed for the proposals.

This is usually a precursor to a full planning application, though the company says that it still a way off.

But nearby neighbours are not keen.

Sarah Wolfensohn lives across the road form the site. She said: “We came here 20 years ago to live in the country. It’s not something that would be popular with residents here at all I don’t think.

“The road is also dangerous, the traffic has got much busier and faster over the last 20 years. Without a pavement you can’t walk into or out of town at night, you’d be run over.”

Husband Simon, is a member of Highworth Town Council but spoke out in a personal capacity.

He said: “The main objection is the traffic.

“At school pick-up times now Shrivenham Road is already almost impassable, and the impact of new houses would just make it worse.”

Mr Wolfensohn said the fact the application had been lodged was noted at this week’s meeting of the town council.

He said: “It was mentioned that the area is outside the development area in the town council’s neighbourhood plan.

“One of the thing the council is keen to do is maintain Highworth’s status as a distinct hilltop town.”

Senior planner at Gladman Developments Megan Pashley said: “We are in early stages of a conversation with the borough council to see its position and understand its development policies, on behalf of the landowner.

“We are not at the stage of preparing a full application.”

The document submitted says: “The proposal is for a residential development of up to 250 dwellings. It is adjacent to the existing settlement of Highworth and would not introduce new of different environmental effects to the area.”

It adds the site is “a sustainable location within walking distance of shops, local schools and community facilities”.

Land along the stretch of Shrivenham Road south of Highworth is already subject to new development.

Fifty houses are being constructed just to the north of the site at a Persimmon Homes development called The Paddocks.

Immediately to the south of the site of the 250 house proposals, disused farm buildings and barns are for sale as suitable to be converted into eight luxury houses.

The proposals have planning permission and a buyer is sought for the site.