Giving the go-ahead to a development next to Lydiard Park could open the floodgates to development in West Swindon claim locals.

A long-running battle to prevent the building of 175 homes on a site off Hook Street and adjacent to Lydiard Park is still going on, despite the council planning committee rejecting the plans.

A public inquiry is to be held in April following an appeal by Primegate Properties Ltd on behalf of Bovis Homes SW Ltd.

Residents, councillors and MP Robert Buckland have been left frustrated that this development could still go ahead despite continued opposition to the plans.

Lorraine Williams, a spokeswoman for the Lydiard Fields Action Group said: “There has been considerable concern both locally and among the wider Swindon community about this proposed development and the irreversible impact it will have on Lydiard Country Park.

“The strength of community opposition has led to the formation of Lydiard Fields Action Group which aims to campaign to protect this and other fields surrounding Lydiard Park from inappropriate and opportunistic developments.

“There is a real fear that should this appeal be won by the developer, it will open the floodgates to further building, quickly engulfing and urbanising the park.

“We intend to do all we can to ensure that the concerns of the community are heard and we hope to raise these at the forthcoming inquiry.”

Mr Buckland, MP for South Swindon, said: “I am disappointed they have chosen to appeal the decision. I campaigned hard against the proposed development and it is my aim to be called to speak at the inquiry and voice my concerns as well as those of the local residents against this development.”

The public inquiry will start at the Steam Museum on April 5 and will be there for three days before moving to the Civic Offices in Euclid Street on April 8.

An inspector appointed by the Secretary of State will attend to decide the appeal.

Members of the public may attend the inquiry and at the inspector’s discretion express their views.

The proposals were unanimously refused by the authority’s planning committee last month after more than 200 residents wrote to object.

“It has been a nuisance that this has dragged on so long, it is now entirely up to the inspector,” said Michael Bray, councillor for Freshbrook and Grange Park.

“We are very confident the appeal will fail but we are looking at it very carefully and looking to do our own transport surveys because the road is used as a rat run.”

Michael Dickinson, also a councillor for Freshbrook and Grange Park said: “I hope this is the opportunity to kill the plan off.

“I hope the inspector listens to the local residents, I don’t think you will find anybody who wants what is an absolutely appalling plan.”