A Scottish property developer has revealed it hopes to build 250 homes on fields between Melksham and Bowerhill, which would connect the town with the satellite estate.

Mactaggart and Mickel will hold a public consultation next Wednesday, where plans for the development south of the A365 Western Way will be displayed.

Mike Mills, chairman of the Bowerhill Residents’ Action Group, said: “It has rather surprised everybody; it’s all happening very, very quickly.

“Those two fields have always been regarded as the rural buffer between Melksham and Bowerhill, and the Bowerhill residents have always wanted that to remain.

“I want to know exactly how many properties they are planning, and what the access will be.”

Under current planning regulations, the speculative site could not currently receive planning permission, as it falls outside the designated development area for the town. Richard Wood, chairman of Melksham Without Parish Council, said: “At the moment, before the Wiltshire Core Strategy is published, while the old planning rules apply, they can’t actually build there, but when the new rules come in we don’t know quite what they will say.

“Our view is if things change when the Core Strategy is published we would still take a very dim view of building on green land.”

Melksham Town south ward councillor Richard Wiltshire said: “Generally everyone would like this land to be left open, and I see no reason to change that.

“Also it affects the setting of The Spa houses, which we are asking to be in the conservation area. I know no one who is in favour of it.”

The plans will be displayed at the public consultation at Christie Miller Sports Centre in Bowerhill on Wednesday, from 3.30-7.30pm, when the developers will be on hand to answer questions from the public.