Councillors will tonight discuss a proposal to lease a strip of land to Chippenham Town Football Club to help it expand.

The club has written to North Wiltshire District Council asking to lease the land, which is owned by the council and was bequeathed to the town by the Clutterbuck family in 1938.

The land has a covenant on it preventing any building but that has already been lifted on land next door owned by Chippenham Sports and Social Club.

The request had been part of a scheme put together by the club with developer Alan Partner, whose company SKB Sports Villages is involved in a similar plan with Trowbridge Town.

But this week the club announced its intention to go its separate way with to Mr Partner aftera disagreement. He had agreed to become a director of the club but had withheld a payment of £2,500 he had previously agreed to put up for his directorship. He claimed on Tuesday that he withheld the payment because he had not seen the club's books.

But Chippenham chairman Sandie Webb said the club had been prepared to show Mr Partner the books but felt he was withholding the money. The club said it also had other concenrns.We felt we were unable to work with Mr Partner,'' she said. We are very much looking forward to working with the council on ways in which we can improve Hardenhuish Park.'' She said the council will still look at the proposal to lease the strip of land known as the Donkey Field. Council leader Dick Tonge said: "We've had a letter from the club asking to lease the strip of land. It says nothing about working with anyone else so we will be discussing it with the club.'' If the council's executive committee agrees, its officers will begin discussions with the club over a lease.

The council will also have to advertise its intentions in case any member of the Clutterbuck family still living wants to invoke the covenant on the land.

The original scheme drawn up by Mr Partner involved turning the ground 90 degrees and levelling the sloping part of the Donkey Field.

SKB intended to build two domes on the land and use the income from hiring out pitches beneath them to finance a £5.5 million loan to redevelop Hardenhuiush Park as a 1,800- seater stadium.

The club has had discussions with the sports and social club as well as council planning officers.

Sports and social club vice-chairman Bob Corke said he and fellow officials had welcomed the scheme. We would support anything that develops sport in this area,'' he said.

The club had asked the sports and social club, which owns Hardenhuish Park, to extend its 14-year rolling lease to 125 years.

Mr Corke said he and fellow officials had supported the idea but that it would have to be agreed by the club's members.

Mrs Webb said she is anticipating opposition from dog walkers who use the Donkey Field.

She said: Whatever we propose would improve the area because the small piece of the land we were going to use is scrubland that no one can walk on.''