Councillors and residents spoke of their frustration that national planning policies had created a situation for speculative development in Devizes.

They were speaking after Wiltshire councillors decided to approve plans for 230 homes next to Lay Wood in Bishops Cannings but decided to continue fighting against the proposed 350 homes by Coate Bridge.

Wiltshire councillor Laura Mayes, representing Roundway where the proposed Coate Bridge housing development is, said the Core Strategy planning inspector, Andrew Seaman, had “unwittingly allowed developers to get in under the wire”.

Wiltshire councillor Philip Whitehead, representing Bishops Cannings, where Lay Wood is, told the strategic planning committee yesterday: “I don’t know if Andrew Seaman has been stuck in traffic outside Wadworth Brewery or Roses.

"I don’t know if he has stood outside Shane’s Castle (on Dunkirk Hill) and smelt the air. If you approve the Lay Wood housing planning application you can take the Core Strategy, the Devizes Transport Strategy, the Devizes Neighbourhood Plan and bin the lot of them and the madness will continue until the next site and the next site and next site.”

Eric Clark, clerk of Bishops Cannings Parish Council, said: “We have lots of small sites around Devizes crying out for suitable development, including brownfield sites.

"The Neighbourhood Plan is not an adopted document but it’s at a very advanced stage. We have done a lot of work on it and put together a really credible plan and it reflects what the community wants.

“Parliament, through the Localism Act, made it clear it wanted communities to be involved in decision making through the Neighbourhood Plan process. The will of Parliament is being ignored. Most people feel very angry about the situation.”

Ted East, chairman of The Trust for Devizes and a Devizes town councillor, said: “This is a prime example of how dysfunctional the national planning policy is. We have been working hard to get the Neighbourhood Plan in place and in the meantime the developers have seen an opportunity to whack in their planning applications.”