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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
Death of a village
the picturesque village of East Coker
A case of - not in my back yard?
For devotees of the poet TS Eliot, the village of East Coker is immortal.

But the real village - which features in Eliot's Four Quartets - is in danger of being swallowed by urban sprawl.

The village is only just over a mile from Yeovil in Somerset. And residents believe that a new development of 600 houses and a business park will mean that it loses its identity.

  • This morning, Breakfast looked at the threat to thousands of villages just like East Coker. We asked: are those who try to preserve them attempting to fly in the face of progress? Or is village life at the heart of our national identity

  • Breakfast talked to Robin Page - who used to present the BBC programme One Man and his Dog - and to the architect Austin Williams.

    "There's no reason why we should be expanding in the South," Robin Page told us. "There are towns in the North of England which are bleeding jobs and people."

    His views were in stark contrast to Austin Williams, who says he's in favour of buliding "anywhere and everywhere" - not just on brownfield sites.

    "One of the most tragic things in the new millennium that we are defending walking, cycling and horse riding," Mr Williams added. "This is the wrong century."

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  • WATCH AND LISTEN
    Villages under threat
    Breakfast's Graham Satchell reports from East Coker near Yeovil


    Death of the British Village
    Breakfast debated the issues with Robin Page and Austin Williams



    BBC Breakfast

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    SEE ALSO:
    Calling the countryside..
    14 Sep 03  |  Breakfast


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