THE fight to build a university and more than 1,000 homes near Coate Water is back on.

The Swindon Gateway Partnership has submitted a rejigged version of a plan for a university campus and 1,500 homes close to the beauty spot.

When it last submitted its plan for the site the University of Bath was involved - but after it dropped out the concept ran out of steam.

Now the partnership has tweaked its plan and is again asking Swindon Council for permission to develop the site.

"We are in advanced negotiations with a university with regard to the site, however, we are not at a stage where we can disclose its identity," said Richard Briggs, the managing director at Persimmon Homes Special Projects Southern.

He also said the new application included technical changes and took into account observations made by consultees during the first planning application process.

But Swindon Council says it won't even contemplate the scheme unless plans for a university partner are brought out into the open.

"Our position on this hasn't changed one iota," said Coun Phil Young, the cabinet member for economic development and regeneration.

"We remain very clear that unless there are concrete plans for a university we won't consider the application for the houses.

"And beyond that we have an excellent emergent relationship with the University of the West of England which is focussed on developing a university in the town centre."

Jean Saunders, who has long campaigned to stop development in the area, said the only changes to the scheme were linked to archaeology.

"The companies behind this are national firms who make millions of pounds so it is nothing for them to throw a few thousand pounds at another attempt to get planning permission for Coate," she said.

"What we need to see instead is a really big buffer zone around Coate Water to protect the landscape, the archaeology, the biodiversity and the open countryside which links to Swindon.

"I would say that anyone concerned about this should write to Swindon Council's planning department."

Plans to develop the area between Coate and the motorway have been in the pipeline for years.

The last time the scheme was floated the University of Bath was involved.

But in 2007 the university dropped out of the scheme.

The developers continued to push the scheme forward but Swindon Council's said if there was no university lined up for the area there would be no development.