SwindonLink featured the tenth anniversary of a visit by top environmentalist Jonathon Porrit to Swindon Festival of Literature in May 2014, on the tenth anniversary of his 2004 visit when he took time to support a campaign to prevent Shaw Forest Park being built on.
On 15 May 2014 he said he remembered lending his influence to save the open space close to the town centre after senior Swindon councillors suggested Swindon Town Football Club consider the West Swindon site to build a leisure village and retail park centered on a 23,000 capacity stadium.
Residents from across the town reacted with fury when the news broke on 19 March 2004 and quickly organised a campaign to fight the idea of disturbing an unregulated mid-20th Century landfill site, with the chance of finding asbestos from the railway works.
People were incensed that the council’s promises about the green area would be broken, especially having attended several community tree planting days since 1993.
Hundreds of people protested on 1 May 2004, holding up the traffic on Mead Way before marching around the muddy forest site – pictured right. Another march to a rally at the Civic Offices took place in early June.
After immense pressure on councillors to protect the park – with cross party support – the full council agreed Shaw Forest should remain an open space for 99 years.
Since then thousands more trees have been planted and the park has become a regular attraction for thousands of people.