RESIDENTS in Horwich are angry about plans to extend a special school, saying it would have radical impact on their neighbourhood.

Plans have been submitted to build two extensions, a teaching building and a new car park at Lever Park School in Stocks Park Drive.

Bolton Council, which has submitted the plans on behalf of the school, said that expansion is needed to cater for increasing pupil numbers.

Lever Park is the only special school in Bolton that accepts pupils with a statement of educational needs relating to social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Residents living nearby are concerned about the impact that the building work will have on their surroundings.

Norman Merrick, who has lived in Stocks Park Drive for 35 years, said: “If these plans get approved, it will completely change the character of this area.

“There are currently two big green fields that local residents see out of their windows and they will be replaced by a classroom and a car park.

“It will also mean that what is already a busy area for traffic will only get busier.”

Mr Merrick, aged 75, is one of 10 people to put their names to a letter submitted to the council that highlights a range of issues, including the residents’ claims that they were not given enough time to submit objections to the plans.

Mr Merrick added: “We received the letter on October 14, which gave us nine days whilst the school was open before half-term to consider our objections. I don’t think that is long enough.”

But council spokesman said: “Residents were fully consulted on this proposal and given written notification of their right to reply within the statutory period allowed — all their views will be taken into consideration.”

Speaking on the decision to carry out the work, the spokesman added: “As pupil places increase, additional space for teaching, recreation, staff, visitors and parking is required which may necessitate building on green space adjacent to schools.

"However, any planning application will take into consideration the design of the building and its suitability taking into consideration the surrounding environment.”