COATE campaigners have vowed to continue their fight to protect the beauty spot from development in 2010.
It has been a year of celebration for protesters as they finally won their battle against a 1,800-home development on land near Coate Water.
But they still face fresh challenges in 2010 with proposals by Swindon Council to site 750 homes on open space at Day House Lane, next to the country park.
The council claims the houses will be built well away from the country park and will include a buffer zone to protect the character of the area. But protesters fear the houses will only be the beginning of encroachment on the beauty spot and are urging the council to look elsewhere.
Jean Saunders has long been associated with campaign to protect Coate.
She said: “In 2009 we won the battle but not the war. We are still not happy about any plans to develop near Day House Lane. We have been promised that Coate will be protected with this development but we have heard all that before.
“We had concerns over the hospital and those proved to be justified so we are determined not to simply accept this. There are a lot of other sites in Swindon that could accommodate development. Why here?”
Mrs Saunders said she was supporting Natural England’s campaign to extend the buffer zone.
She said: “I would like people to be able to walk along Day House Lane and feel they are part of a country park rather than a housing estate.”
In August Communities Minister John Denham rejected an appeal by the Swindon Gateway Partnership over plans to build 1,800 homes and a university campus on land close to Coate Water.
The current proposals are included in Swindon’s core strategy – a blueprint for development in the town over the next two decades. As well as homes there is allocation of schools and employment land.
On January 7 a public exhibition of the plans will be held at Park South Community Hall from 1pm to 7pm.
Coun Bluh said: “We are opposed to any development south of Day House Lane and we were delighted that we successfully challenged the application by the Swindon Gateway Partnership.The issue of development north of Day House Lane is one which still needs a lot of work and that is why we are having this public consultation. We would welcome all suggestions.”