A SURVEY has shown that although 68 per cent of Swindon residents want a university in the town, 65 per cent are opposed to development on land near Coate Water.

A questionnaire drawn up as part of a university dissertation, and distributed through the Adver website, has shown the public’s reaction to proposals by Swindon Gateway Partnership (SGP) to build a campus on land near Coate Water.

Readers were asked for their views on both a university in Swindon and whether they agreed with SGP’s plans. Reasons for supporting the university ranged from increasing job opportunities and aiding regeneration to “attracting fit girls to the town”.

Rejections were justified because of good transport links to nearby universities and worries about overcrowding. Those supporting SGP’s plans said it would increase employment and would not necessarily affect the country park.

Those opposing the plan cited the effect on rural charm and damage to the town centre regeneration.

The survey has been compiled by Laura Worley, 20, from Nine Elms. She is in the final year of a BA Geography with Management Studies at Sussex University and has chosen to write her dissertation about the potential consequences of the SGP plan.

Laura said: “The reason for my survey is to get information on how popular Coate Water Country Park is to local residents, by finding out the different age groups that use the park, and from which areas people travel from.

“The survey will highlight how many local residents are actually aware of the proposed, controversial development and what they think about it.

“If the development goes ahead views will be ruined and the attractiveness of Coate Water Country Park will be tainted. Planners should be working together with the community to develop Swindon in a way that suits the needs and requirements of local residents.

“It is clear from the 50,000 plus petition that most people in Swindon are against the development. The wildlife, archaeological remains and the land will all be affected. This is totally unnecessary when there are a number of other good sites around the town which could be developed with few damaging effects.

“The council are already planning on expanding to the north of the town – this could be a far more suitable site for a university.”

To add your voice to the survey go to www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/ coate/survey.