Resigned campaigners battling to stop a six-storey development springing up in Staines have vowed to challenge councillors face to face with the words, "If you give this the go ahead, we will never ever forgive you."

Spelthorne councillors are set to vote tonight on controversial plans to develop the Bridge Street car park site into 143 flats, but the Staines Guardian has learned councillors plan to hold a secret closed meeting before the public one to discuss the proposals - set to net the council millions of pounds.

Vice-chairman of the planning committee Howard Thomson admitted councillors do meet before hand behind closed doors, but stressed decisions are made before members of the public in the recorded public meeting.

He said: "There is a pre-meeting which all members are welcome to attend and discuss items. It is for practicality mainly. I am not sure until I arrive tonight which members will be there."

Earlier in the week members of Staines Town Society were predicting proposals would get the go ahead after officers recommended the plans in a council report.

Chairman of the group Claudette Curtis Jenkins said: "I tried to do all my campaigning against these crazy plans before it got to this stage. Now I think if I do go to the meeting it will make no difference. But I will go, if only to say to councillors if they do this we will never ever forgive them."

Protestors were briefly relieved in November when it emerged housebuilder Taylor Wimpey, which has submitted the planning application for the site, had 83 per cent wiped off its share price and the company was forced to lay off 1,000 employees.

But it is believed the company has found funding for the project, which includes 50 per cent affordable housing in a u-shaped block of one to three bedroom flats and a cafe.

Mrs Curtis Jenkins said: "These plans are completely shocking. They are off the scale for Staines town centre. This is the entrance to our town and these horrible buildings will change the face of Staines for the worst.

"I am absolutely appalled. All the council want to do is get the money for this sale. They are not thinking about the future, who wants a town centre home right now? They will lay empty and look awful."