Developer Gleeson is taking legal action over the withdrawal of a decision that would have allowed it to build 180 homes on the outskirts of Malmesbury.

Gleeson Strategic Land submitted a planning application to build the homes and a primary school on land south of Filands, which was initially rejected by Wiltshire Council.

Residents and councillors had raised concerns about over-development and said large proposals should only be considered after Malmesbury had completed its neighbourhood plan.

After an eight-week appeal hearing earlier this year, it was announced that Gleeson’s appeal had been granted.

Scott Chamberlain, managing director at Gleeson, said more than 24 hours after that decision, the Planning Inspectorate wrote to say the permission had been issued in error and the appeal would now be decided by the Secretary of State. Gleeson has asked for a judicial review of these decisions.

Mr Chamberlain said: “It is essential in the interests of good administration, and to maintain public confidence in the planning system, that planning decision notices, including appeal decisions, can be relied upon from the time they are issued.

“Only the court is competent to quash a planning decision notice, and then only if there are sufficient grounds, although the Secretary of State can revoke a planning permission if the appropriate compensation is paid.”

The firm has written to the Secretary of State for an explanation of the grounds for its withdrawal.