The Chippenham Civic Society has labelled the proposed growth of the town through the local plan and the distributor road it will unlock as unsustainable.

Mike Stone, chairman of the group, said the growth curve proposed for Chippenham – 7,500 houses – up to 2036 is too great for the town.

In a letter, Mr Stone asked: “At what point does Chippenham cease to become a pleasant place to live?”

Over the last four decades the population of Chippenham has grown from 19,000 to nearly 40,000 or an increase of 109 per cent.

The Civic Society, Mr Stone says, recognises all towns grow, but that the 62 per cent is rushed.

“Most people in the town are against the situation,” he said. “I think they use the fact we’re on the railway line and motorway to say ‘Chippenham will have more than anyone else’.

“The number they’re proposing is far too high when you compare it to other historic towns in the county – that’s the thing we’re most perplexed about.

“We’re already experiencing lots of problems with roads in and out of the town centre. When we get back to a more normal way of life, it’s going to add a huge amount of extra vehicle access to the existing roads.

“I think the existing infrastructure is going to be comprised no end.”

In the letter from the Civic Society, the organisations said: “Wiltshire Council has a track record in selling off public assets in support of dubious development schemes in Chippenham (The Bridge Centre, Chippenham College and the new Saddlers Mead Car Park spring to mind).

“Is the wholesale destruction of the very environment that makes Chippenham attractive, the next goose to be slain?”

Simon Hendey, director of housing and commercial for the council said: “We note the Civic Society’s views on the proposals in the Local Plan review for development in and around Chippenham. Recognising that if development does come forward, the council secured £75m funding to ensure that development is infrastructure led – respecting the environment around Chippenham and addressing the issues that the Civic Society has raised such as congestion on roads in and out of the town.

“The council secured the £75m Housing Infrastructure Funding to part finance the distributor road infrastructure if required for development, which will enable us to masterplan and have the right infrastructure in place before any additional development takes place in and around the town centre, which is exactly what residents have told us they want. Any new road will only be built following consideration against the Local Plan and planning policies and the statutory planning process."

“We are aiming to consult with local residents and stakeholders on the Future Chippenham Masterplan this Summer. We would encourage everyone to provide their feedback and shape how the potential new development could look and feel, if land comes forward for development.”

The council said it mains to have to the masterplan ready for consultation this summer.