£4.22m was granted from council funds to progress the Future Chippenham Project.

At Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Wiltshire Council approved the loan of £4.22m to the Future Chippenham Project, before the approval of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant of £75m.

The HIF grant is specifically awarded to build a road that would support the delivery of 7,500 homes in the Chippenham housing market area.

Considerable concerns were raised as the council would be operating on risk, assuming the HIF funds were made available.

The funds would go to the proposed team to continue the work on the design of the road at the financial risk of Wiltshire Council, as the work would have to be completed by March 31, 2024.

Andrew Nicholson, a member of the public asked the cabinet to “do nothing”, thus saving the council’s capital pipeline and making carbon reductions.

Mr Nicholson added: "There is no percepitable mandate from the public for the road to be built so that houses can be built. You are risking council tax payer's money."

Cllr Philip Whitehead, leader of the council responded: “The government numbers for housing are their numbers, we have got the notice of the number of houses we need, and we don’t have a choice. If we don’t, they’ll step in and build them for us.

“On the points about the capital and revenue, this is a project that will be wrapped up as capital spend.

“All these projects are on tight timescales and these projects have to be finished by 2024.”

An additional concern was that of the public consultation, which was due to start in April but will now not begin until third or fourth quarter due to the coronavirus situation.

If the HIF programme does not proceed, including the £2m already spent or committed up to 2019/20 on the project, the council would risk a loss of £6.22m.