POLITICAL rivals have slammed Conservative politicians who promised to keep green space at the former Headlands School free of houses.

And residents have sent the St Philip ward councillors David Sammels and Paul Findlow a list of 20 questions about the proposal to build 200 homes on the school site.

Under new plans, the playing fields beside the school, now the Swindon Academy, would be covered in 200 homes. The council needs to sell off the land to help raise £5.5m towards funding the £35m academy – which will be sited in Beech Avenue, Pinehurst.

But a Conservative newsletter published last year claimed the playing fields had been secured.

On Thursday Coun Sammels told the Adver that was the case when the newsletter was published, but further consultation had led to a change in the plans.

Joe Tray, who stood as a Labour candidate for the St Philip ward in the last election, said green space was already rare in Stratton.

“I am totally disgusted as I think Stratton suffers from less green space than other parts of Swindon,” he said.

“One of my election promises was to keep as many green areas in the area as possible.

“What amazes me is the amount of money spent on the Headlands School site and now it will be developed into houses.

“It is disgusting to spend money with the left hand and take it away with the right.”

And Liberal Democrat candidate Ann Richards said: “If it was promised the land would be preserved then it ought to be.”

Residents living near the Headlands Grove site held a meeting last night and hope to meet with ward councillors in the near future as well as gather names for a petition.

Michael Wood, of Masefield Avenue, off Headlands Grove, said: “We are hoping for straight answers. We are not opposing total development on the site. We realise Swindon Academy has to be funded but we want to be consulted.

“We hope to work with the council to do the best to please everybody.”

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

Coun David Glaholm (Ind, Penhill) said:”I was against moving the Swindon Academy to Beech Avenue as I thought it would be better left in Headlands Grove. Everybody knew that the land would have to be sold off to fund the academy.”