Thursday, 13 November 2008

No! to the Coate Development - update

(photo taken in January this year)
The 'Council Oak' at Coate Water - the same tree featured in Richard Jefferies novel 'Bevis, the story of a boy'. Richard Jefferies was born at Coate in 1848 and died in 1887.
Below is a reproduction of a photo that appeared in yesterday's Swindon Advertiser
The land by Coate Water Country Park
Permission has been given by the editor of the Swindon Advertiser to reproduce in part the following report and the above picture.
Yesterday's Swindon Advertiser (12/11/08) ran a 'good news' story on its front page under the headline: No! Not In Our Backyard. Report by James Wallin (Political Reporter).

Plans to dump 1,500 houses close to a local beauty spot have been condemned by Swindon Councillors. An application to build on land near Coate was branded a "travesty" by planning committee members at a meeting last night. An appeal by the developers, the Swindon Gateway Partnership will now be considered at a public inquiry on February 10th 2009. But Swindon Council has sent a strong message to the Secretary of State that in their view the proposal is "fundamentally flawed" and should be refused.

The battle to save this land and its historic associations with the writer Richard Jefferies whose house (now the Richard Jefferies Museum) stands on the corner of Dayhouse Lane is not yet completely won but with 52,000 signatures on a petition against the development the Save Coate campaigners were upbeat after the council meeting: To quote the Swindon Advertiser again - Jean Saunders said: "I think it was a wonderful decision by the councillors and I pleased to hear their support for Coate Water".

Jean Saunders and other campaigners such as Brian Burrows and Felicity Cobb have worked tirelessly for the past five years or so to stop this development. After Bath University pulled out of their earlier plans to develop a campus on the site the developers dug their heels in and lodged an appeal with the Secretary of State on the basis that Swindon Council had not made a decision about the building plans for the site.

The Swindon Advertiser has reported this story right from the start and has been active in keeping the people of Swindon informed of every setback and progress made in this long campaign.