SWINDON Council leader Roderick Bluh has challenged Coate developers to prove they have a university lined up for the town as new plans are submitted.

The Gateway developers have delivered their proposals for 1,800 new homes, a business park and expansion to the Great Western Hospital.

The plans promise that a 60-hectare university campus will be included in the development, but challenging the building firms to reveal who the interested university is, Coun Bluh said: "No university, no houses."

"I would be puzzled as to exactly who the developers think they have got interested.

"If there is a university, who is it? At the moment I have not been told who the interested party might be.

"We want to be very clear about what university we are talking about, what is suitable for Swindon and what is sustainable.

"We have said we will fight very vehemently not to have development on Coate without a university."

Bath University had been lined up for the area, but pulled out earlier this year.

Developers for Gateway Swindon, Redrow Homes and Persimmon Homes said: "The site for the university campus has been amended but remains at 60 hectares, in line with policy requirements.

"Discussions have been taking place with universities interested in a campus in Swindon and the exact layout would be consulted on as part of a detailed planning application."

However Gateway would not disclose the names of interested universities and Coun Bluh remained sceptical.

"There would be little point in applying for planning permission without a university on board," he said.

"If there is a university interested, I would have thought they would want to know what the town's educational needs are and set out what facilities they would need.

"Currently the council's children and education services haven't been spoken to about this.

"Before a university can be brought to Swindon there would have to be discussions with the council and MPs and as far as I know there hasn't.

"We have certainly not been party to any discussions about a university and the developers should certainly be pushed on who this university is."

Gateway has retracted original plans to build on Coate submitted to the council in 2005. The new planning application includes an extension to the water park, larger school sites with playing fields, and moving the university campus further south.

Paul Davis, strategic land director for Persimmon Homes said: "The principle of development has been established and we are committed to creating an exciting, well designed development on this important gateway site into Swindon."