ANGRY Farnworth residents fighting against proposals for an affordable housing development on a community field have won the backing of Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi.
At a packed public meeting, she paid tribute to the “passion” of members of the public and pledged to support their campaign to halt any development at the field on Watson Road.
Bolton at Home are consulting with Highfield Road Residents’ Association over a proposed scheme which involves the building of 25 houses on the site. No planning application has yet been submitted.
Around 90 residents attended Friday’s meeting at St Catherine’s Church, organised by the association, where Harper Green councillors Champak Mistry and Mike Francis were also present.
Association treasurer Mrs Paula Lewin said afterwards: “The green field in Watson Road has been used for 50 years for recreation. The number of proposed units has come down from 30 to 25 which will take up three-quarters of the field. We put forward an alternative plan for the building of seven units, which was rejected.
“We’ve been in consultation with Bolton at Home for around four or five months and they’ve been very open throughout.
“I was very pleased at the turn-out. The purpose was to lobby support from our MP and give a forum to residents to voice their concerns about the development.”
On the revised proposal to reduce the number of homes, Cllr Francis told the meeting: “This does retain a substantial amount of the green space and is a step in the right direction.” But he stressed he was against any development on the site.
Local mother-of-two Michelle Seddon told the meeting: “If this field goes, then my children will have nowhere to play.
“Also, we’re going to be like sardines here with nowhere to move.” After fellow residents voiced similar concerns, Cllr Francis told the meeting: “We need this sort of engagement.
“We can argue on planning grounds, but you can do even more.”
Ms Qureshi said she had received letters from constituents over the issue. Backing the residents and praising their passion in opposing the proposed development, she said: “We really need to have this piece of land and not to build on it.
“We are talking about a piece of greenery. We want to save it so it can continue to be used by people living in the area.”
Meanwhile, people living near land in Highfield Road who are opposed to plans to build 13 homes in a separate development have launched a bid to have the green space given village green status.