THE Great Western Hospital has pulled out of the development plans for Coate.

The hospital was signed up for an expansion on the Gateway site but this has now fallen through as it feels the University of Bath would have been integral to the development.

Lyn Hill-Tout, the chief executive of Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust, which runs Great Western Hospital, said: "We were part of the Gateway partnership, alongside the University of Bath, as we felt there was an important link between us and the university planning and development.

"When the university announced it was no longer involved then we withdrew from that partnership.

"The trust has made it clear to the developers and the planning office that we will need extra land for healthcare future expansion and in the structure plan we made clear we required 5.5 hectares."

The area of land sought by GWH appears to be the stumbling block over the development.

"The developers are putting forward a proposal that the hospital has 3.26 hectares for hospital expansion and 2.43 hectares for health-related facilities," she said.

"We do not know what they mean by this latter 2.43 or what they propose it is for. However, we believe we will need 5.5 hectares for hospital development only."

"We have consistently sought the protection of 5.5 hectares for the expansion in a westerly direction and the existing building has always been designed with that in mind."

The trust says the land set aside for a park and ride scheme has never been earmarked for hospital expansion, and there is currently planning permission for a park and ride.

Ms Hill-Tout said: "We are closely scrutinising the changing proposals being made by the developers and will be using the planning process to reiterate our views on the future hospital needs."

The hospital will now monitor the situation to see how it progresses.

The Gateway developers have previously delivered their proposals for 1,800 new homes and a business park.

Plans for a town centre university are also still in the pipeline and the University of the West of England is believed to be the top choice to meet Swindon's higher education needs.

Council leader Roderick Bluh said: "We have said we will fight very vehemently not to have development on Coate without a university.

"I personally have always liked the idea of a town centre university, as have a lot of my colleagues."

Swindon Council has been in discussions with the University Of The West Of England several times recently.

It is thought the Bristol-based university could be considering North Star, near Swindon College, as the new home for a campus.

Since the University of Bath pulled out of the running to build at Coate earlier this year the council has been talking to other universities to see if any would be interested in moving to Swindon.