Plans to turn land in South Marston into a caravan site for travellers has attracted outrage from neighbours.

Green Planning Studio Ltd has submitted an application on behalf of James Buckland to make empty land off Nightingale Lane suitable for 12 residential pitches which would help meet what it describes as an unmet need for these pitches in the borough.

More than a dozen residents have submitted objections to the proposal, arguing that it would add extra traffic to the narrow road which has no passing areas, pointing out that the plot of land and lane regularly flood, and worrying that it would spoil one of the few green spaces left in the village.

This Is Wiltshire: This plot of land enclosed by trees between solar panels and Nightingale Lane could be used for 12 traveller caravan pitchesThis plot of land enclosed by trees between solar panels and Nightingale Lane could be used for 12 traveller caravan pitches (Image: Google Maps)

The residents of a nearby farmhouse wrote: “This is an opportunistic planning application with a very short consultation period, to take advantage of minimal nearby objectors.

“One only has to look at similar developments to see the total disregard for the surrounding areas by residents of such developments, witness… rubbish dumped on empty adjacent fields.

“Drivers use South Marston as a short cut, greatly increasing traffic flow in the village, often at dangerous speeds.

“Ditches bordering this plot of land are always stagnant due to blockages and consequently overflow during rain showers and are therefore certainly not suitable for proposed waste outlets.”

A resident in Yew Tree Gardens feared that the permanent settling of travellers nearby would lead to an increase in crime.

He added: “South Marston cannot accommodate such a large influx of vehicles and people without impacting on the wellbeing of those who already live here."

A Magdalene Close neighbour said: “There have been issues with illegal traveller sites often in the surrounding areas that leave the area in a very bad state with rubbish and human waste.”

A Manor Park homeowner said: “The South Marston Neighbourhood Plan says that no residential development should be permitted off Nightingale Lane.

“The village has agreed to a huge increase in residential properties over the coming years. More are not acceptable.”

This Is Wiltshire: How the 12 pitches will fit onto the land near Nightingale LaneHow the 12 pitches will fit onto the land near Nightingale Lane (Image: Swindon Borough Council)

A Highworth Road resident noted that Nightingale Lane is often used by pedestrians to access Nightingale Woods and that it has no pavement.

This also concerned Swindon Borough Council’s Highways team, which recommended that the application be refused.

A spokesperson said: “The environment for pedestrians is unappealing and in dark and/or poor weather could be considered hazardous.

“I am concerned that the risk to the safety of the users of the lane will be significant as a consequence of the intensification of vehicle movement arising as a result of the application proposals.

“Whilst the issues raised with regards to the internal site layout and parking strategy can likely be overcome, I am unable to reconcile how the proposed development site could be considered reasonably or safely accessible.”

The deadline for the public to make submissions about the plan (reference S/23/1500) is Monday, February 19.

The planning statement by Green Planning Studio said: “It is abundantly clear that the application site is located in what is and will continue to be a sustainable area and what is regarded as a notably developable area.

“At worst, the addition of 12 residential Gipsy and Traveller pitches would have limited impact upon the area's character or appearance and would be consistent with the area's increasing residential density.

“The existing road network has a good safety record and sufficient capacity to accommodate this limited development.

“This application’s contribution to the proven shortfall in the five-year supply of Gypsy/Traveller pitches in the borough is a significant benefit that outweighs the, at worst, limited impact of the proposed development.

“There are no site-specific reasons why the application site is unsuitable for its proposed use."