TREASURED green space at the former Headlands School could disappear under houses, despite Conservative councillors’ promise it was safe.

Under new plans the playing fields beside the school – now called Swindon Academy, which is due to move to Beech Avenue, could give way to 200 new homes while green space would be added to the school site.

Swindon Council says it has to sell the land at Headlands Grove for houses to help generate £5.5m to fund the school’s transformation into the £35m Swindon Academy.

A Conservative newsletter published last year said: “Local residents will be happy to hear that when Headlands School moves from its current site, the existing playing fields have been secured by your local Conservative councillors for the community to enjoy.”

The newsletter featured comments from councillor David Sammels who said his party was ‘committed to protecting our existing green spaces’.

Residents are furious.

They say they feel misled and believe the cash poured into the Headlands School site in the past has been wasted.

Desiree Botha, 36, of Masefield Avenue, believes the development would add traffic delays.

She said: “I feel I have been duped by local councillors.

“There are too many houses and there is enough congestion in Cricklade Road already.

“Putting up 200 houses is going to cause more mayhem. People nowadays have two cars per household so that is another 400 cars in the area we don’t need.”

About a dozen people turned up outside the school yesterday to protest.

Mandy Wood, of Masefield Avenue, said: “They are going to dig up the concrete on the school site and cover it in grass and then dig up the grass in the playing fields and put concrete down.

“The council doesn’t need to sell the whole area. Why can’t it just build on the concrete where the school was built?”

An outline planning application will be submitted at the end of October. A consultation took place at the school on Thursday with another one planned for the end of the month.

Planning consultants Colliers CRE has been hired sell the land on behalf of the council.

Swindon Academy project manager David Neal said: “In 2009 the Headlands school site will be freed up for us to develop a mixture of residential and leisure facilities on the site.”

A mixture of two, three and four bedroom homes are planned and the current sports hall would be used as a leisure centre.

Resident Lyla Kerry, of Dores Road believes the new homes could be at risk of flooding as the playing fields were submerged during the floods.

“The fields get flooded all the time so I have no idea what they are going to do about that,” said the 75-year-old.

“Also the high fence around the school cost so much money and that is all going to go to waste.”

Councillor David Sammels (Con, St Philip) said there were no plans to build on the playing fields when the Conservative leaflet was sent out in winter 2007.

“It was out of our control,” he said.

“The plans have changed, as since then there has been further consultation.

“I am glad we are keeping the leisure centre at the site but it is a shame they are building on that part of the land.

“But it is the only land they can use.”