The chief executive of a building firm which successfully applied to reduce the number of affordable homes it has to build in Swindon has stepped down after a row over his enormous bonus.

The £75m bonus paid to Jeff Fairburn, who has announced his resignation form the top job at Persimmon Homes, sparked anger among many in Swindon when it was contrasted with the company's claim it could not afford to build 30 per cent of the homes on the Badbury Park development- shared with Redrow Homes - as had been agreed.

The companies got the council to agree to them building 22 per cent of their houses on site to be let at an affordable rate.

Now Mr Fairburn has stepped down.

Persimmon said he left by "mutual agreement and at the request of the company". The company said the issue was having a "negative impact" on the firm's reputation and on "Jeff's ability to continue in his role".

Mr Fairburn will leave the company on New year's Eve and will keep the £75m worth of shares awarded to him because the company has done so well.

While South Swindon Labour candidate Sarah Church said the issue showed large building companies had too much power and just didn't want to build affordable homes, Conservative councillor Gary Sumner said the rules on feasibility of affordable homes were centrally set and nothing to do with bonuses.