A planning application by a London-registered property developer to build 65 homes on land near Hillworth Road, Devizes, is being opposed on the grounds of the damage it would do to the habitat of cuckoos, buzzards and bats.

Maria Hoult, the Conservative candidate to fill the vacancy on Devizes Town Council, said: “We simply cannot allow this to happen.”

Pearce Planning, acting on behalf of Shoreditch developers Square Bay Property Ltd, is seeking from Wiltshire Council full planning permission to build a variety of one to four-bedroom homes on a site near Hillworth Road and John Rennie Close, land currently used to graze cattle.

The late Cllr Ray Parsons, whose recent death left the vacancy on the council and meant there will be an election on November 25, was strongly against any development and Mrs Hoult is carrying his torch in her call that the land should be left alone.

She said: “Any development at the bottom of Hillworth Road is in completely the wrong place and must be opposed.

“I understand that the area was originally included in the future development area of the Neighbourhood Plan but I feel this was a mistake which we now have a chance to correct.

“As part of the Neighbourhood Plan steering group I will resist this development as we simply cannot afford to lose more agricultural land which is such a haven for wildlife.”

“We do need more affordable homes for young people and there will need to be development in Devizes but we must take a commonsense approach to where it should be and there is no sense at all in this location.

“Once we lose the biodiversity in this area, habitats for birds and animals for hundreds of years, it will be gone forever. We simply cannot allow this to happen”.

A survey identified cuckoos, buzzards, badgers, bats, newts and other wildlife in the area which has been used as farmland for hundreds of years.