The owners of a golf course in Highworth say building 50 houses on part of the site will be vital to keeping the course viable.

But it seems not everyone is going to agree.

The Manners family, which built and runs Wrag Barn Golf Club on Shrivenham Road has teamed up with developers Bewley Homes.

The partnership has submitted an application to Swindon Borough Council to be able to build 50 houses on the small nursery in the corner formed by the main road and the access lane to the course.

Plans show 25 private houses, ranging in size from three to five bedrooms and 15 affordable homes running from one bed to four, would be arranged around one road, forming an S shape to the north of the club’s access road.

In the application the family says it has always known it would need to do something like this to keep the golf club running.

“Since the Wrag Barn Golf club was first established, the need to diversify the business has been pertinent, in order to secure additional sources of income to help support the wider club facilities.

“In this regard, the club has expanded its ability to host corporate and private functions within the terms of the existing planning permissions for the site. This has proved vital to the business.

“The proposed development of the academy golf course will therefore help to aid the viability of the golf club.

“Revenue generated from the sale of the land will help support the improvement of existing facilities, including but not limited to car park surfacing, new course drainage, new course irrigation and the installation of top golf.”

With several other housing developments either proposed, granted permission or built in the nearby area off Shrivenham Road, the family and Bewley Homes don’t see an objection. “The site is free from any ‘in principle’ constraints that would deem it unsuitable for residential development.

“Its site is not susceptible to flooding and there are no known archaeological constraints. Furthermore, the site does not comprise agricultural land, the loss of which would be an important consideration when determining the proposed application.”

But when Bewley representatives presented the proposal to Highworth councillors Mayor Richard Williams said: “You are aware this goes against the town’s neighbourhood plan - and that we’re against the other applications?”

Senior planner Kate Green said: “It’s safe to say that the Wrag Barn site could not come forward without those other schemes being submitted and the growth moving in that direction.

“The owners are concerned that if things continue as they are, then the golf club could be lost to other potential buyers and turned into farmland. That would be a big loss for Highworth and the community asset that survives there.”

She added: “We have taken the Neighbourhood Plan into account and we are aware it’s contrary to some of the policies in it.”

The plans will come back to the town council for a full discussion later in the year.