WORRIED West Swindon residents crammed into a packed pub to air their concerns over plans for 3,000 homes to be built in their backyard.

Around 150 people squeezed into the Woodlands Edge for a public meeting over Wiltshire Council plans to build 3,000 houses just over the border at Ridgeway Farm and Pry Farm.

They are concerned the plans will put serious strain on roads, schools and other amenities in West Swindon as well as increasing the risk of floods.

Angry outbursts by residents were coupled with defiant speeches from Swindon councillors, who promised to lobby the town’s MPs to help them limit the amount of development required for the town over the next two decades.

Swindon Council’s head of planning and transport, Dave Potter, explained to the crowd that although Swindon had told the Government it could accept a maximum of 32,000 new homes over the next 20 to 30 years it was being told that 37,000 must be accommodated, including 3,000 just over the Wiltshire border.

Mr Potter said: “The choice is whether to manage this or object to it. At the moment I think both. We should object in the short term but make sure we manage that growth in the long term.

“The danger of just saying no is that we will get a situation like the Northern Sector, where 10,000 homes were passed at appeal and the whole process was taken out of the council’s hands.”

A Wiltshire Council officer also pleaded with the assembled residents to understand that the authority was only reacting to Government growth targets.

But many of those who spoke to the Adver after the meeting were disheartened at the prospects for opposing development.

“We are just a dumping ground for the Government,” said Jon Ellis, from Moredon. “This decision has already been taken so it’s not going to matter what we say. There’s already been far too much development in Swindon but they just expect us to take more.”

Caroline Fowler, from Peatmoor, said: “I only moved to Swindon in October and I’ve been shocked at the amount of development that’s going on here. I’ve never known anything like it. There are already too many houses around here and the traffic is terrible. This will just make things worse.

“I think there should be another meeting about this development because people didn’t have the chance to have their say tonight.”

John Belstow, from Sparcells agreed. “It’s an important issue and we need to have our say. I don’t anyone who isn’t opposed to this and we need to be told what we can do to make sure the Government knows we don’t want it.”

The need for 37,000 homes in the Swindon area is set out in the South West Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) – a Government planning blueprint for development over the next two decades, which is currently stalled because of legal arguments.