An application for permission to build 300 houses on the edge of Swindon is in the pipeline.

Builder Hannick Homnes Ltd has lodged an application with Swindon Borough Council for a screening opinion on whether an environmental impact assessment is necessary if it puts in a proposal for the homes as part of the huge New Eastern Villages expansion programme.

Although this is a technicality, it can be taken as a reasonably reliable indicator that a fuller application for outline permission is likely within six to 12 months.

The site is to the east of Wanborough Road, just south of its crossing over the A419 and behind Poplars Day Care Nursery. It would form part of the Lower Lotmead village development.

Hannick Homes application said: ”The proposed development will comprise up to 300 dwellings including the provision of affordable homes, the creation of new access points as well as landscaping, surface water drainage and other supporting infrastructure.

“The prospective development can be satisfactorily accommodated on the site in a manner which respects the character and appearance of the local area at a density in keeping with policy and development context.”

One of the factors which might make an environmental impact assessment necessary might be how the new development affects traffic.

Hannick Homes says the new homes will generate more car journeys but improvements already planned by the borough council – especially the £30m southern connector road to be built specifically running through the NEV sites – will accommodate this increase.

It added the traffic will also affect air quality, but the impact will be of limited significance.

The application added: “The development of a residential scheme of this nature is well understood and are not considered to be significant. The impacts can be predicted with accuracy and the normal planning process can ensure proven measures can be implemented to avoid significant effects.”

The borough council’s lead on the NEV project Gary Sumner said: “I’m very pleased. We have gone from ‘stalled’ to all highways schemes funded and under way which has encouraged developers to come forward and we will now be working with Hannick Homes as well as adjoining developers at Lotmead and Foxbridge to see applications completed.

“There is a buzz about the NEV which was missing but is now unmistakable.”

Two impact assessment screening opinions applications were made for the Foxbrigde NEV site, to the north of the Lower Lotmead site, in December last year.

Formal applications for outline permission to build nearly 700 houses in two developments have been lodged by Danescroft Homes and David Wilson Homes within the last month.