WE are very concerned about the gradual loss of green space around Leigh, both as vital “breathing space” for recreation, and as habitat for wildlife.

Earlier this year the latest Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) draft was published.

It deals with future housing and other development work across Greater Manchester

In our area, it proposes developments west of Gibfield at the Atherton end of the bypass for 700 houses, 600 homes at Pocket Nook, Lowton, 180,000 sq/m of development at Pennington South and 1,200 houses north of Mosley Common.

Not included in the GMSF, the recently resurrected North Leigh Park development was the subject of a public meeting. This is for 1,800 homes on land between the bypass and Hindley Green.

Other work not included in the GMSF includes the approved developments at Atherton south near Howe Bridge for 850 homes and 227 more off Chaddock Lane in Tyldesley.

This erosion of our green space is disproportionate to that in other areas of the borough and Greater Manchester.

It is an acceleration of what has been happening over many years, and threatens to join all our townships together as a traffic-choked desert.

Where will the families moving in to these new houses go for rest and recreation or even just to walk their dogs?

The loss of natural habitat goes against the grain of current thinking and public concern about our planet.

 Our green spaces provide refuge for many declining rarities like yellowhammer, willow tit and lapwing.

Other threatened species such as swifts, wheatear, many warblers, brambling and siskin use the area as a wildlife corridor and this will be taken away from them.

The developments are close to the Atherleigh bypass which has become a traffic bottleneck.

Does GMSF take into account the knock-on effects of development work, with air pollution from the increase in motor vehicles? Do we have the infrastructure: schools, public transport, doctors’ surgeries and sufficient social care services?

This issue was recently highlighted to councillors and MP Jo Platt.

We understand the need for improved housing for the future, but we believe a more thoughtful plan is needed, taking into account public concerns about our threatened environment.

Anthony Bishop (vice chairman, Leigh Ornithological Society)

Paul Richardson (conservation officer, Leigh Ornithological Society)