RESIDENTS who fought a developer’s bid to retain the temporary link road at Royal Wootton Bassett breathed a sigh of relief as planning councillors threw it out.

Oxford University Endowment Management was seeking permission to keep the road, built to be diversion route while the town’s three railway bridges were upgraded for electrification, as an agricultural access.

An amended plan, devised after residents came up with an alternative, was put before members of Wiltshire Council’s Northern Area Planning Committee and was recommended by planning officers for approval. But it failed to win support with eight members voting against it on Wednesday.

“We didn’t think the vote would go that way today, we really didn’t. We’re very pleased it has,” one of their representatives, Maurice Hopkins, said after the meeting.

“The residents of Dunnington Road, and I’m just one of them, put an awful lot of effort to try to persuade the committee not to take the case officer’s recommendations.”

He said they had worked over many months to detail their concerns, put their case and come up with an alternative that they believed was acceptable to everyone and offered the developers what they wanted.

But he suggested OUEM had simply toyed with their proposals.

“The decision today was the right decision,” he said.

Fellow resident John Parker had told the committee they had three options – to reject the application outright and fulfil the promises made by the council and Network Rail that the road would be removed, accept the residents’ compromise or vote in favour of the application and let the residents down.

Karen Dykstra, another Dunnington Road householder, said: “It has had a detrimental effect on residents’ health from all the dust, noise and stress-related illnesses, in particular with my household. I fear that the temporary pain and inconvenience has become permanent.”

Roger Smith, head of planning for agents Savilles, told the committee they had been very mindful of the issues raised by the residents at the planning meeting in June when a decision was deferred.

He stressed the road would have low key seasonal use and the overlooking caused by the raised section, which had been highlighted by residents, could be mitigated with landscaping.

The previous application had been recommended for approval but the amended plan had improved on it, he pointed out.