Neighbours of a proposed development of more than 360 houses at Newburn Sidings in Mannington have started two petitions against the scheme.

The instigator Graham Woodward said: “Swindon Borough Council has already rejected the Newburn Sidings site twice already as not being suitable for domestic housing development, and has clearly indicated so.

"However, the developer is now intent upon trying to shoehorn nearly 400 dwellings including flats in to the site.”

One of the major concerns is the wildlife which lives on the site just off Wootton Bassett Road, near the recreation ground.

Mr Woodward, who lives in Nelson Street, said: “The site is inhabited by deer, badgers, foxes, water voles, grass snakes, adders, slow worms, and more recently otters that have now returned to the rivers Ray and Cole, the former of which runs through the site.

“A possible 600 extra cars will add to traffic in the area which will impact upon the Wootton Bassett Rail Bridge. This is already a traffic pinch point, which is why residents are stating that it is a minimum requirement that the bridge be widened to insert a new west to east feeder Road to serve the proposed access road across the recreation ground.

“The extra traffic will also add to problems at the bottleneck of Westcott Place and add to Designer Outlet traffic at weekends and bank holidays in Park Lane and Rodbourne Road.

"This will also compound the already serious vehicle emissions problem as already cited for Kingshill Road.”

The two petitions address two separate issues of concern to residents about the development – one is the loss of wildlife, increased traffic and air pollution they feel will come as a result of converting the sidings to houses and flats.

The other is about the ‘pinch point’ of the railway bridge over Wooton Bassett Road, asking Swindon Borough Council’s highways department to widen it if the plans are approved.

Formal planning consent has not yet been sought by the developers One Swindon.

The company says the plan “complements the heritage of the historic railway and neighbouring properties, whilst creating a flagship scheme for Swindon. The linear nature of the site has allowed us to create unique character areas that each respond to their surroundings creating a new, high quality and sustainable neighbourhood at Swindon Sidings.”