PLANS for 470 houses in green space near Leigh are facing fierce opposition.

The land off Firs Lane and Plank Lane located along the Leeds and Liverpool canal is set to become a housing estate with a new road running through it.

The final details of the development, which has already got planning permission in principle, have been revealed by developer Taylor Wimpey.

The design has been drawn up together with the Canal and River Trust and includes the creation of a new bridge linking the canal to Pennington Flash.

In this, 118 affordable homes are planned as well as a financial contribution to the council for local education and a new car park for West Leigh Cricket Club.

But a newly-formed group of residents is fighting to save the green space.

Leigh Journal:

Westleigh Waterfront Residents Action Group are concerned about increased road traffic, pollution and flooding risk as well as the loss of open spaces, loss of habitat and removal of three-hectares of woodland and mature trees.

A spokesperson said: “We all need to stand together to save our green spaces and our wildlife which is rapidly being fenced off, dug up, cut down, filled in and destroyed in the name of progress.

“We need to stand together to make our voices heard. Everyone can raise their concerns and make their objections known about this development.”

The residents are worried about the impact on mental health and wellbeing if access to open spaces is lost, especially during the pandemic.

They also fear the new road which will run through the site will bring “significant” levels of road traffic towards Lowton and have a “serious impact” on existing road traffic levels and road traffic pollution in the area.

Following floods around Johnson Close and Thelwall Close in October 2000 when residents had to be evacuated from their houses, the group fears that building 470 houses above a flood zone could cause more flood events.

A spokesperson added: “Many residents regularly have flooded gardens in winter months and more houses will make the situation even worse in terms of surface water run off down to lower ground.

“Residents have serious concerns that existing houses will be at increased flood risk as the developer plans to build over existing drainage ditches.”

Taylor Wimpey said the plans evolved through “constant communication” with Wigan Council, but due to the lockdown, the developer was unable to hold a public exhibition or meet with the community before submitting its plans.

However, a virtual consultation was held and a leaflet with feedback form was distributed to 1,700 homes.

Leigh Journal:

A spokesperson said: “Our proposals will deliver quality family homes within a sustainable and amiable neighbourhood.

“The proposed development is highly accessible and, through a number of key linkages and maintained pedestrian routes, the scheme will benefit from improved connectivity to the surrounding open spaces.”

Marie Bintley, assistant director for growth and housing, confirmed the plans will be determined by the planning committee after a site visit takes place.

She said: “Residents and those wishing to submit comments to the planning applications can do so using various means including the council’s planning website, email and post which will be taken into account as part of the assessment of the applications.”

To share views residents can email or view the applications on the council’s planning website under the application references A/20/89654/NMAS and A/20/89543/RMMAJ.