DEVELOPERS have ignored the concerns of 52,000 people opposed to development at Coate, say those campaigning against the proposal.

Swindon Gateway Partnership wants to build a university campus, 1,800 homes and a business park on nearly 200 hecatares near Coate Water.

As both sides in the Coate inquiry gave their final thoughts, protesters admitted they were furious that their petition had not merited a mention in either submission.

Felicity Cobb, who was the driving force behind the petition, said: “I just feel that there are a lot of well-paid people going away feeling very happy with what they have done.

“All of those signatures that took time and effort to get together were just counted as one complaint.

“It was completely brushed aside by Swindon Gateway Partnership (SGP).

“Public opinion is meant to be crucial, so we are always being told by councillors and MPs, and so should have counted for something at this inquiry.”

John Price, of the Richard Jefferies Society, said: “They completely failed to mention the petition, signed by 52,000 people.

“I think Swindon Council really passed up a number of opportunities to challenge the developers, so it was left to us to do it.

“The planning inspector made a point of thanking the people who had attended the inquiries and spoken, so hopefully he will take on board what we said.”

Jean Saunders, who has attended every day of the inquiry, said she was not impressed by the summing-up of Christopher Lockhart-Mummery, representing SGP.

She said: “The only thing he got right was that this is a high-profile site. That is why they want to develop on it but this is also the reason why the majority of Swindon people want to keep it as it is.

“They are worried that this will affect the views from Coate Water that we all love.

“I just hope that the planning inspector appreciates the views of the people of Swindon and will take those on board.”

The inquiry into SGP’s proposal to build near the beauty spot concluded on Tuesday.

Planning inspector David Richards will now consider the evidence and make his recommendation to the Secretary of State by the summer.