Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 13:50 UK

Housing plans for park thrown out

View over Coate Water to Liddington Hill
Campaigners say the scheme would have a 'devastating impact' on wildlife

A plan to build more than 1500 houses and a university campus close to the Coate Water country park in Swindon has been rejected by the government.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government turned down the appeal by Persimmon and Redrow Homes.

The original plans were rejected by Swindon Borough Council last year.

More than 50,000 people signed a petition opposing the scheme, claiming it would have a "devastating impact" on wildlife at the nature reserve.

Felicity Cobb, Save Coate co-ordinator, said: "I'm absolutely delighted. This is a victory for common sense and for what people want in Swindon.

"It's a breathing space and it's somewhere that we can call our own, there aren't many places in Swindon that are restful.

"I think Swindon's become a bit of a dumping ground for housing and not very much else and I think we need a bit more beauty."

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