Opposition councillors are preparing plans which would see council tax increases slowed and a town centre car park made free for two hours.

The alternative budget, to be put forward by Conservative councillors on Thursday, would also see two council office blocks turned into flats, while utility companies would be asked to pay by the day to close lanes on the business roads in the borough.

But it would also come at the cost of 70 full-time or equivalent posts in the workforce, and it would take something seismic to happen at the meeting of the full council on Thursday for it to be adopted in favour of the budget to be presented by the Labour administration.

Council tax is currently set to increase by 4.99 per cent in Labour's plans - the maximum allowed without a referendum - but the Conservative plans see a rise of 3.37 per cent instead.

Leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Gary Sumner, said the group had fully costed its plans and the budget amendment would allow a revenue budget similar in size to Labour’s - £178m - while coping with the loss of £2m in council tax and other revenue from frozen charges and fees.

He said: ”By being more commercially minded we can bring in more money to the council and allow us to pay for services without having to impose the maximum council tax increase.

“Our plans for a council tax rise of only 1.37 per cent take a different approach. As a start, we would scrap Labour's two new director posts at a cost of £140,000 and invest that money in our roads, footpaths and country parks."

The 1.37 per cent increase in the core council tax element will be put together with a mandatory two per cent increase in the tax which will be ringfenced for adult social care.

The Conservatives shadow member for finance Councillor Matty Courtliff said: "Labour are hiking council tax by the legal maximum, while borrowing an additional £30 million in just six months - on one hand pleading poverty and claiming that the council is on a cliff-edge, and the other borrowing money like it’s going out of fashion.

“This coming year, 60 per cent of Labour's council tax increase is simply paying for the millions in new loans they have decided to take out. We would stop this and sell council property to reduce debt by £10 million."

The proposed amendments say 41 sites listed as surplus on the council’s property holdings should be “proactively marketed”.

The receipts for the sales could not be spent on services in the budget but can be used to pay down debts and the Conservatives say that would reduce pressure on the revenue budget, which is used to service those debts, cutting interest payments by £850,000.

The opposition councillors also want to convert Wat Tyler East and Plus One buildings in the Euclid Street campus to flats to bring in rent as income for the authority.

The group’s deputy leader Councillor Dale Heenan said: “This is an ambitious proposal. We would commit to introducing two hours free town centre parking, increasing tree maintenance, and increasing planning enforcement as well as creating a new Country Park in Highworth, delivering the new Oasis and investing £6m in both a new sports hall and improvements to our existing leisure centres.

"We would establish an 'Enterprise Zone' to support companies expanding or relocating to Swindon. There is so much more we can do but it needs bold commitment from the council."

The amendments, and the Labour administration’s budget proposals will be debated and voted on by councillors on Thursday starting at 7pm in the Civic Offices.