Plans for 900 new homes and an industrial estate near Swindon's Coate Water Country Park have been approved by the planning inspector - against the wishes of thousands of residents.
More than 50,000 people signed a petition against the plans. That's the equivalent of one in four Swindonians.
The Borough Council rejected the plans last year. But developer Redrow went to a planning inquiry who overturned that decision. Jean Saunders, who has been fighting development on the site for 25 years said: "It's a tragedy."
The Council Leader Rod Bluh said he was disappointed, but development at the site was always likely.
The land has historic links with 19th century nature writer Richard Jefferies. His former farmhouse is now a museum in his honour. He wrote about landscapes and was heavily influenced by the fields at Coate.