Opponents of Mactaggart and Mickel’s proposed 350-home development on the outskirts of Devizes say it should not go ahead as it will increase traffic congestion and air pollution.

An inquiry is being held after the developer appealed against refusal of planning permission for the scheme on a greenfield site next to Coate Bridge off Windsor Drive.

Devizes Community Area Partnership (DCAP) told the inquiry at the Corn Exchange, Devizes, that the town’s draft Neighbourhood Plan, which identifies small scale-sites in the town, would be a more sustainable option.

Rick Rowland, chairman of DCAP’s housing group, said an assessment carried out by highway consultants for Wiltshire Council showed the Plan would cause comparatively less congestion.

Parts of Devizes are often gridlocked at rush hour and air pollution exceeds European limits.

Mr Rowland said: “The Devizes traffic model shows that if this development goes ahead journey times would increase by 35 per cent in evening rush hour.”

Anthony Crean QC, representing Mactaggart and Mickel, said Wiltshire Council’s environmental health department had no objections to the scheme and the developer had agreed to its request for improvements to London Road, with some widening of lanes plus traffic lights to mitigate the effect on traffic.

But Mr Rowland said: “They are not even going to maintain the status quo. Undoubtedly they would make an improvement but the question is would it be enough?”

John Kirkman, chairman of the Kennet group of Campaign to Protect Rural England said the development would harmful traffic congestion and air quality.

He also said the site was not in Wiltshire Council’s emerging Core Strategy, which sets out development for the next 12 years and that the overwhelming opinion of the public was against it.

The four day inquiry ended on Friday. The planning inspector in charge of the inquiry, John Felgate, will write a report for minister Eric Pickles, who will make the final decision.