ECO-campaigners, local residents and council employees were all on hand to give green developer and Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud a grilling at an event in Swindon.

Last night members of the public had their first chance to find out about his plans for a section of the Front Garden development, set to include up to 200 ecologically designed homes, and a further site at Pickards Field allotment off Pinehurst Road.

Kevin's new development company Hab Housing, which stands for Happiness, Architecture, Beauty, will be working in partnership with Footstep Homes on his first foray into major house building.

A range of people turned up to Gorse Hill Junior School, with the event continuing from 2pm to 4pm today, and were able to speak to Kevin himself and other members of his team.

Green Party press officer Jim Santaniello said the organisation was concerned the scheme was more about publicity that its environmental credentials.

"It's a great opportunity as the state of housing in Swindon is pretty poor, but we have concerns that it will turn into a publicity stunt rather than a genuine effort. An area that should be an allotment is going to be destroyed to build high density housing.

"Another concern I have is the building of houses with no gardens and forcing people into a lifestyle which is not sustainable, where they will have to go shopping and without trying to alleviate boredom."

Ian Tuck, a building control surveyor for Swindon Council, was keen to see what will be a key part of the massive Wichelstowe development.

"This is the first time I've seen details of this," he said.

"It's a good idea from what I can see, especially with the Government bringing in zero carbon rated homes by 2015 which means we will be something of a blueprint for the future.

"It will be interesting to be part of a new concept."

Eddie Fiore was on hand with his daughter Daniella, 14, as future neighbours of the Hab site which will share a boundary with the back of their Malvern Road home.

"I'm looking at what's going to happen and the plans of the houses to see what impact it will have for me. And I'm not happy with it," he said.

"In the summer it's good to be in our garden backing on to the site and you can hear birds, nature and trees.

"There's the privacy too, and if you want to look over then you see people working in the allotments. But as a principle it's good."

Kevin himself was enjoying meeting residents, and was impressed at the turn out, and the reaction he was receiving.

"Nobody has tried to punch me yet," he said.

"People do get irate, but I'm interested in meeting them. People are so used to developers screwing them and building rubbish that they're consequently fearful.

"We have done a lot of work already and are doing more, and that would mean that if we screw it up then we will have let people down.

"We have got to get this right."