THE effect on the landscape and ecology at Coate was discussed on the fourth day of the public inquiry.

Swindon Gateway Partnership (SGP) continued to call their witnesses, under the watchful eyes of campaigners against their plans.

Andrew Cook, head of the environmental planning division at Pegasus Planning, gave his opinions on the effect development would have on views into and out of Coate Water Country Park.

Although he admitted that the landscape would be affected by development he also said that the opportunities to extend the park could bring many benefits.

He also said that the proposed development would be shielded from view through the planting of trees and the position of the buildings.

But campaigners raised their concerns that the views held most dear to visitors and local people, including those from Liddington Hill, would be obscured.

Environmentalist Cain Blythe then gave evidence on the ecological effect of development.

He pointed out that the revisions included in the updated master plan had meant the withdrawal of objections by Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

But representatives of Swindon Friends of the Earth claimed that the increased footfall would scare off birds and other animals.

Mr Blythe pointed out that with the intended 20 hectare buffer zone there was a unique opportunity to create a habitat for a variety of species .

The inquiry continues on Tuesday, when deputy vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England, will give evidence.