The stench of raw sewage, the risk to human health and the contamination of waterways in a quiet rural lane in Swindon means plans for a new children’s home will be delayed.

Specialist residential home operator Park Blue Homes already run a children’s home in a converted former family home at Ringstones in Kingsdown Lane, in Blunsdon, a small single-track road off Turnpike Lane.

It has put in an application for planning permission to build a new four-bedroom house, to be used as a children’s home, in the back garden of the existing building.

But neighbours and councillors told Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee that the change from a family house to a children’s home in the first building has caused such issues, particularly with the discharge of sewage into the ditch running along the lane, that a new building would present a hazard to health.

Speaking on behalf of Park Blue Homes Jack Bryon said: “There have been issues with draining for some time, but all issues have been identified. At each stage, we have followed advice to make sure we are within the legislation.”

My Byron said the new building would see the existing sewage treatment plant on the site be improved to cope with extra demand.

But that did not convince either neighbours, a dozen of whom had turned up to the planning meeting, or Blunsdon ward councillor, and planning committee member, Councillor Nick Gardiner.

He read the words of fellow ward councillor Steve Weisinger, who was unable to attend the meeting: “Until the building was redesignated there was no problem with drainage or sewage.

“Since then, the ditch Kingsdown Lane has regularly received excess sewage and waste.”

Coun Gardiner added: “I have visited the site and the stench of raw sewage and the visual evidence of waste was completely unacceptable.”

Neighbour Jeremy Pitkin said: “The problem with foul water is unhealthy for the children living in the home, it's unhealthy for us the neighbours, it’s unhealthy for the animals and for everyone. It’s a very unhealthy situation.”

As the existing treatment plant would be upgraded to serve the new proposed house, councillors felt its current issues were relevant to the plans, and voted to defer the matter to seek the opinion of the Environment Agency as to whether the upgraded plant would be sufficient.