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Richard Jefferies (1848-1887)

How many words has it taken to describe so briefly the feelings and the thoughts that came to me by the tumulus; thoughts that swept past and were gone, and were succeeded by others while yet the shadow of the mound had not moved from one thyme-flower to another, not the breath of a grass blade… The silk grass sighs as the wind comes carrying the blue butterfly more rapidly than his wings, A large humble-bee burrs round the green dome against which I rest; my hands are scented with thyme. The sweetness of the day, the fullness of the earth, the beauteous earth, how shall I say it?
Richard Jefferies. The Story of my Heart (1883). Chapter III.

The following letter written in the Swindon Advertiser brings us up to date as to what has been happening regarding the development of land next to Coate Water, see article here.  Both universities, Bath and UWE  have pulled out of this deal, but Swindon Council still seems hellbent on building houses and ’employment premises’ on this area of green and unspoilt land.  The number of houses seem to have been reduced from 1800 to 750 houses as given out in the consultation of February 2009 but even so this barrier of land that lies between Swindon town and the beautiful Marlborough Downs is still very much at risk.

Letter from Jean Saunders –  Monday 8th June 2009.

ALTHOUGH government is, as yet, to announce its decision about the planning application for development between Coate Water and the A419 Trunk road (the deadline set is 6 August), Swindon Borough Council is still pushing forward with its Core Strategy to permit 750 houses, 15 hectares of employment premises and shops to be built there.

In a document that is likely to be approved by Cabinet at its meeting on 10 June, a new policy for building at “Commonhead” is proposed. Whilst it calls for the creation of “a functional and robust buffer between Coate Water Country Park and new development”, we ask what has happened to the other “robust buffer” promised when the hospital was given the go ahead and the “no houses” promise, if no university materialises?

How can we believe that the land between Coate Water and the new development will be protected in perpetuity when the Council constantly changes its mind?Councils have a duty to “inform, consult and engage” local communities in everything they do. So why aren’t they listening to the opinion of over 50,000 people who object to the scheme?

JEAN SAUNDERS Hon Secretary Jefferies Land Conservation Trust.


June 2009

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