Housebuilder Taylor Woodrow has been granted planning permission for a £1bn, 4500-home scheme in Swindon, Gloucestershire.

The 309 ha project will be the largest in the South-west, surpassing the 800 homes being built by Bovis in Bristol, and will include a 4.5 km extension of the Wilts and Berks Canal.

It will also meet strict environmental standards, with every home achieving a ‘very good’ eco-homes rating and 225 being built to the ‘excellent’ standard. Thirty per cent of the homes will be affordable and an average of 43 homes will be built per hectare.

Work will begin on the site next May. The first homes of the 13-year project will be ready by September 2006.

Nick Sedgewick, projects director for Taylor Woodrow, said: “Our proposals were subject to intense public scrutiny at every stage of the planning process and as such we are confident that the [scheme] will be an exemplar development that will benefit the whole of Swindon.”

The scheme is expected to employ about 5000 people and will be built in an area identified by planners for development known as the southern development area.