Cabinet members normally have to sign up to agree to the administration’s policies.

But there are three members of the cabinet who are ward councillors for Wroughton and Highworth. Brian Ford, in charge of adults’ services, and Cathy Martyn, who runs housing and public safety, represent Wroughton, while the member for highways and environment Maureen Penny sits in the chamber for Blunsdon and Highworth.

All three voted to send the updated plan to public consultation, but they made it clear they are not happy with the policy which sees existing outlying settlements taking more new houses, particularly 600 houses in Wroughton and more than 500 in three sites in Highworth.

Coun Ford told his cabinet colleagues: “I speak on behalf of both myself and Coun Martyn.

"We would both like to thank the cabinet member for strategic planning and the officers involved for removing a site at Ridgeway School which was unsustainable for many reasons, including lack of a suitable access, loss of playing fields and sports pitches, and encroachment onto the green buffer which protects Wroughton’s semi-rural identity.

“We would like to thank the large number of Wroughton residents who submitted their own comments in the various consultations up to now and who have helped us achieve the removal of this site, as well as other sites at previous stages of consultation and engagement.

“Cathy and I are glad that there is another round of consultation as it gives residents the opportunity to comment further, therefore we both support the recommendation that the Local Plan continues to the next round of consultation.

"We would like it recorded in the minutes that this does not mean we agree with the proposed site allocations for Wroughton. We will encourage all residents to comment on the next round of consultation and trust that the cabinet member and officers will take note of any comments received and act accordingly.”

The Wroughton councillors also asked that Coun Sumner and planning officers agree to be present at an event in Wroughton to explain to people who live there what the proposals mean.

Coun Penny was similarly keen to distance herself from the substance of the plan, and to do so on the record.

She told the committee which approved the plan to move to the next stage she did so only to allow the public to have its say: “I don’t agree with the proposed allocation for Highworth.

“I don’t agree with the part of the report which says it concentrates development on Wroughton and Highworth.”