No houses will be built on the North Star site before the indoor snow centre is constructed.

Swindon Borough Council’s scrutiny committee were told by town centre cabinet member Dale Heenan that was a ‘red line’ in the agreement between the authority and Seven Capital, who are to build the huge leisure facility at a cost of £270m.

The committee had heard a report on the progress on the project, which has been delayed by at least a year.

When planning permission was granted in November 2018, the company had hoped to start work on the site in spring this year. It has said it had more difficulty that it had expected in raising all the money it needed – something it in part attributed to Brexit. Its latest position is that work should start in the first half of next year.

Labour councillor Jim Robbins asked: “In November 2018 Coun Heenan said Seven Capital had the funding and planning permission was the last piece of the jigsaw.

“What’s changed since then?”

He also pointed out that the draft local plan, which will go to public consultation, allocates land in the area next to the snow centre site for hundreds of houses.

Coun Robbins said: "There was no mention of houses in the original planning application when permission was granted.

“What confidence can we have that the snow centre will be built, or will we just see houses there? Can you give assurances the centre will come before the residential development”

Coun Heenan said: “Yes. It’s a red line in the agreement with Seven Capital. There will be no houses before construction on the snow centre.”

He added he couldn’t say much about what he knew of the state of the funding in a public forum.

“We do have information from Seven Capital, but it’s given to us privately to give us confidence, and I can say that I expect to see progress in 2020," said Coun Heenan.

He added the development company had pre-let 60 per cent of the units in the centre to other leisure providers but couldn’t comment in detail on commercial agreements between two private companies.

Earlier this year Seven Capital announced KFC and trampoline park company Gravity Active Entertainment as tenants for the building.

They will joining outdoor equipment shop Ellis Brigham, Hollywood Bowl and Empire Cinemas, who had signed up as tenants even before planning permission was granted.

As well as the two ski and snowboard slopes, the site will feature a bowing alley and a 13–screen cinema with Europe’s largest IMAX screen.

A spokesman for Seven Capital said: “We are fully committed to the North Star project and we continue to work tirelessly with stakeholders and Swindon Borough Council to ensure the plans become reality and the North Star is delivered.”