A candidate for the Swindon North parliamentary constituency has admitted  a photograph with a developer at a controversial housing development was ‘an error of judgement’ and has apologised for ‘any offence’.

But Will Stone, who is a Labour councillor for Rodbourne Cheney and is hoping to become a town MP at the next general election, has defended meeting with housebuilder Taylor Wimpey.

Last Week Cllr Stone posted a picture of himself with Keith Simmons, a manager from the housebuilder at a show home at the Robin Gardens development being constructed surrounding Abbey Stadium.

He wrote: “Fantastic meeting with Keith from Taylor Wimpey this morning. I was impressed with the quality of the builds and the environmental measures they are putting in place.

“We also discussed the possibility of expanding their apprenticeship program into Swindon.”

But that tweet received plenty of criticism from people annoyed at what they see as the lack of progress with rebuilding and re-opening the Abbey Stadium – a condition of the housing estate’s planning consent.

Swindon Borough Council has begun a formal investigation into whether the construction of the Robin Gardens development has involved breaching planning conditions.

Andy Freegard wrote back to Cllr Stone, saying: “I take it you know what that housing estate is and what it is destroying?

“Not a great look to get people voting for you.”

Mark Andrew Racing tweeted: “That's great, but why did the publicity for this have to involve a photo shoot on a building plot that is being investigated by SBC?

“The building of houses on a stadium car park is incendiary considering the fact the Stadium should have been finished first before any more builds.”

Cllr Stone said the decision to be photographed at the Robin Gardens show home was an “error of judgment” on his part and apologised for any offence caused.

But he told the Adver: “I understand why people didn’t like it. And I’m not happy with what’s going on with the stadium, I understand.

“But as a politician, you can’t just run away from difficult or awkward conversations.

"And coming out of the meeting there will be another 100 apprenticeships with Taylor Wimpey over the next 10 years at New College Swindon. I think that’s huge.

“You have to be able to speak to people, and companies, even if it’s difficult.”