Campaigners who want Highworth's Old Golf Course kept as an open green space will have the chance to make their case to councillors tomorrow.

A petition signed by more than 4,600 people has been handed into Swindon Borough Council urging the authority to remove the allocation of up to 30 per cent of the old course between Cricklade and Swindon roads for 350 houses from its revised local plan and to “keep the golf course green.”

It means that petition organiser April Thrush will be able to speak at tomorrow's full council meeting and members will debate the matters afterwards.

The petition says: “The current local plan to develop 350 houses on the old golf course will have a detrimental effect not just on the natural landscape but will have a significantly negative effect on the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors alike. 

It says keeping the space open for people to enjoy and exercise in will be a benefit in the long run.

“Parks and green spaces deliver over £34 billion of direct health and well-being benefits to UK residents each year," it says. "Any removal of green space will likely cost more in public health costs. Investing in landscapes will counteract the growing costs of health care. 

“Green spaces are a more sustainable way to manage the health of our community and reduce the pressure on primary care services. More so than ever the NHS is under pressure in 2021.”

It adds: “Even utilising only 30 per cent as suggested would have the effect of reducing the naturalness of the landscape, something which is highly valued by the community. 

“The development would also add an estimated 427 cars to an already congested Cricklade or Redlands Road.

“The Highworth surgery is already struggling to keep up with appointment requests and with a further 600 homes planned for Blunsdon who also currently share this facility it would not be able to provide the further necessary level of care required. 

"We need you as our elected representatives to protect the local green space known as the Old Golf Course. We wish to ensure this piece of land is protected not just for today but also for future generations to enjoy.”

Many people living in the town and councillors, including former members of the ruling Conservative cabinet, are concerned by the proposed local plan which sets out how the town can develop until 2036 is being amended.

It proposes that more than 800 houses could be built in Highworth over the next 15 years.

The plan in being updated in the light of a second public consultation which closed in October before it is sent to the secretary of state for levelling up and housing for an examination in public next year. 

If approved by the planning inspector it will come into effect later in 2022.