About 150 people from Swindon and surrounding towns and villages marched through the town on 9 April to say to Central Government and Swindon Council that the development of the town has become chaotic and ill considered, and that no new expansion should take place until the northern expansion is completed and available brownfield land is built on.
Protesters marching under the banner of Swindon Together On Planning (STOP) came from groups trying to block development of Coate Water and the Front Garden, and also the Mechanics? Institute Trust who want the derelict building saved from commercial exploitation.
There were also people from Wootton Bassett, Chiseldon and Purton concerned about Government proposals that Swindon be the region?s principal urban area, the site for a further 16,000 to 24,000 homes, between 2016 and 2026, in addition to 10,000 already agreed, still to be built.
Julia Drown, making her last public appearance as MP for Swindon South, defended Coate Water against proposals to build a university campus and 1,800 houses between the country park and the Great Western Hospital. "The developers, the university and Swindon Council are insulting the intelligence of Swindon people by pursuing a proposal that nobody wants," she said.
Richard Pagett from Purton said Swindon should be the vibrant economic hub of the region but not through an uncontrolled, chaotic dash for growth.
Terry King, who has led the Front Garden Action Group for six years in its efforts to block development of the land between the town and the M4 for 4,000 dwellings, said the battle is continuing. "We intend to remind potential buyers of the problems that we are telling the developers about – the access difficulties, the noise pollution, the flooding of the area and the difficulty of getting insurance."
March organiser Alan Hayward said, "I was really pleased with the turnout. Julia Drown really went out with a bang, her speech was passionate in denouncing the university and the developers who want to destory Swindon's favourite place.
"People should feel personally threatened by what the ?decision makers' of Swindon and Central Government and its unelected Quango's have in mind. By the time the diggers start appearing it will be far too late to save the green fields now being targeted for development.
"Swindon could become a very unattractive town to move to if the developers get their way."