HOUSES could be built as part of a proposed industrial and science park on fields north of Wanborough, campaigners have suggested.

But Wasdell Group, which is planning to build the huge facility on 35 acres at Inlands Farm, has rubbished those claims.

The pharmaceutical company has resubmitted its plans for the controversial scheme just north of the Commonhead Roundabout.

As well as a new warehouse, Wasdell has also put in proposals for facilities to be used by research and development companies it hopes to attract to Swindon. It hopes to create 600 jobs in the borough.

But Wanborough residents who form the South Swindon Protection Group say the failure of a planned industrial park in the Badbury Park development nearby – land which is now going to be houses – sets a worrying precedent.

John Warr, the group’s chairman, accused Wasdell of using “smoke and mirrors”. He said a technicality of the application – that it is for permission for light industrial use – could open the door to that.

Mr Warr said: "Swindon Borough Council had previously challenged the applicant that the class of the filing was wrong. With 85 per cent of the proposed building in Phase 1 being allocated to 12m high racking, and with six loading bays, the facility is clearly designed for 'warehousing and storage use'.

"But the applicant has applied for Class B1C, which is 'light industrial use'.

“Could it be that once the application has been accepted, the warehousing would be outsourced to a third-party logistics operation like Amazon?

“Whether Wasdell adopt it, or a third party, it will not create the jobs that are being claimed.

“Historically B1C applications can more easily be transferred into residential applications. Nearby Badbury Park was marketed as an industrial site for over five years unsuccessfully; due to lack of interest. It is now a site for hundreds of homes. If there was no demand for these facilities at Badbury Park or Symmetry Park, and 50 per cent of Cheney Manor has been demolished, then where are the entrepreneurs waiting to take residence of this speculative development?”

A spokesman for Wasdell Group said: “Mr Warr has presented a scenario which bears no resemblance to the planning application, complete with an image SSPG have created of how they say the site could supposedly look which is nothing more than fantasy.

"We advise residents who want to know the real picture to look at the plans on Swindon Borough Council’s planning portal, or go to the Swindon Science Park website at rather than take Mr Warr’s claims at face value.

“Wasdell is a reputable, award-winning company with a proven track record of sustainable growth, and has outgrown its current sites.

"The group will be increasing job numbers in Swindon by 600 in the first year after moving onto the Science Park, which is very good news for the town. It is very disappointing and quite baffling as to why SSPG, who have never contacted us to discuss any concerns, would claim that is not the case.”