A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build 250 houses on the southern edge of Highworth has been approved by councillors - but with visible reluctance.

Swindon Borough Council’s planning department gave the green light to the scheme put forward by Gladman Developments to build the estate on farmland just off Shrivenham Road on the approach to the hilltop town.

One of the committee members, Blunsdon & Highworth ward councillor Alan Bishop, said: "I have never seen a planning application to produce as much opposition in Highworth as this one."

Also a member of Highworth Town Council, Coun Bishop said he was representing that authority's opposition to the scheme and urged mebers of the committee to refuse the plan.

The plan had been deferred when it first came to committee in last 2020 because of fears about the safety of the road heading into Highworth which does not have a full pavement and is used by children going to Highworth Warneford School.

Gladman Developments said it would extend the footpath and install a light-controlled crossing.

Helen Ball, speaking for the developer, said the specific highways issue causing the deferrment had been addresed in co-operation with the borough council.

She said the development would "add to the vitality of Highworth town centre and its shops."

She added that Highworth Town Council could expect £260,000 in Section 106 contributions from the developers to spend on projects and facilities in Highworth.

Councillors were very concernd about the safety of the road, and the increase of traffic generated by the new gouses.

Councillor Peter Watts pointed out while there would be a light-controlled crossing, people from the development would have to use an uncontrolled crossing, and then cross Shrivenham Road again to get to the school.

He proposed the applicaton be refused but after discussion the new committee chairman matthew courtliff asked for more substantive reasons to refuse consent.

The motion to refuse fell three votes to seven with two abstentions.

John Ballman moved the application was approved, which was passed eight votes to three.