The strength of opposition to a housing plan which could see nearly 100 trees felled has forced developers to take stock.

Backhouse Housing already has outline planning permission to build 65 houses on Redlands Park on Swindon Road on the southern edge of Highworth.

But its detailed plans – the subject of a new planning application – has drawn fury because they involve cutting down 97 trees in Redlands Copse.

A spokesman for the Bath-based developers said the application was still ‘live’ but the company was looking at what could be done about the trees.

More than 100 objections were sent to planners.

“We have not withdrawn our application," the spokesman said. "We continue to review our proposals in collaboration with the various stakeholders and in particular with a focus on the potential impact of removing these trees.”

Members of a variety of environmental parties and groups – Earth Strike, Extinction Rebellion and the Green Party – lobbied members of Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee before they met.

And they weren’t even due to consider the application in Highworth.

Jon Timbrell of Swindon Earth Strike – one of the groups behind the Save Redlands Copse campaign – said: “There have been more than 125 letters of objection to the plans lodged with the council on its website.

“That shows the strength of opposition to this scheme.”

He added: “The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England says there are 49 brownfield sites which we think should be used before greenfield sites are built on.”

Another protester, Aimee Georgeson, said: “I work in children’s and young people’s mental health and that’s a real issue for them, the state of the planet and the future they’re going to have

“We want to stop the nibbling away of green spaces and putting profit before people and wildlife.”

Mr Timbrell said: “The campaign has a lot of neighbours, including those who live right next door to the site involved.

“We want to see what Backhouse come back with and see whether that’s acceptable to both the neighbours and environmental groups like us.”

The plans submitted by Backhouse suggest a line of trees through the middle of the land directly south of Redlands Close would be kept, along with trees ringing the site – but it does show 97 mature trees will be cut down.

The plans are available to view on using the reference number S/RES/19/1371