A HOUSEBUILDER’S pledge to invest £400,000 into Old Town and the surrounding area has been cautiously welcomed by those who opposed its development.

Taylor Wimpey’s cash injection was agreed as part of the planning permission for 62 houses on Ambrose Field near Croft Road.

Parish councillors and neighbours tried their best to stop the plan being approved by protesting and sending in a petition with 1,000 signatures. But the borough council gave the plans the green light in July 2018.

Taylor Wimpey will give £298,000 towards Swindon Borough Council’s community interest levy, to be spent on projects for education, sports culture and sustainability.

Plus, £69,000 will be spent on improving the Wichelstowe play area and its surroundings.

And £27,000 will go towards refurbishments at the Swindon Polo Ground.

On top of that, £6,000 will be spent removing double yellow lines outside the proposed access junction to the Ambrose Gardens development.

Old Town Councillor Nadine Watts said: “Coun Jane Milner-Barry and I have already secured funding through the parish council to refurbish the East Wichel play area.

"This additional money will enable an enhanced scheme with more equipment thus increasing the play value for all ages.

“We are also keen to start work on the nature corridor between Old Town and East Wichel and will look to ensure that some of this money is allocated for this purpose.”

Land planning director for Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire Gary Needham said: “We are so proud of what we are doing to support the community around our Ambrose Gardens site.

“Through funding improvements to open spaces, leisure facilities, highways and more, we are committed not only to providing quality homes but also to ensuring that we are giving back to the communities in which we build.

“It’s a real privilege to be involved with the community of Swindon.”

Construction began on the two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom homes last month. The housing on the field is due to be ready for its first residents to move in by next spring.

The site was not designated for housing in the 2015 local plan and residents living in the area raised concerns about potential flooding and increased traffic.

Taylor Wimpey purchased the land in September this year.