PLANS for a huge new estate that would transform three pieces of land and an unloved canal have been unveiled.

Based on the site of the former Creams Mill, and land off Hall Lane, the estate will include a mix of 297 one, two, three, and four-bedroom houses and apartments, with private gardens and parking spots for residents.

Developer Watson has also pledged to regenerate the disused Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal, repairing the breach and restoring water to the former route.

However, the plans have raised a few eyebrows, as they would build on three pieces of land across the town – including a patch of green space off Hall Lane that residents previously campaigned to save.

Cllr Sean Hornby, who led the 2010 campaign, pointed out the benefits of the regeneration, but acknowledged the process wouldn't be easy for the firm.

He said: "Watson have said they will fix the breach in the canal which would put it back in water.

"In the past we've seen developers agree to these kind of things as part of a section 106 agreement and then approach us to say the development cost more than they expected and they can't afford it.

"Putting it forward as part of the proposals is a cast iron guarantee that it would happen so that's a plus side, but there's a lot of opposition."

The Creams Mill site has been empty since the former paper factory was demolished.

Watson purchased the land earlier in the year, and has been in touch with Great Places Housing Groups and Bolton at Home to deliver affordable housing for the area.

Before plans for the development are submitted, the firm is hosting a public consultation, giving the people of Little Lever the chance to have their opinion considered.

Cllr Hornby added: "It's very controversial, a lot of the housing will be shared ownership and another concern is the access onto Hall Lane.

"What I'm struggling to understand is that the highways officers said it was too dangerous to have access onto Hall Lane in a previous application but it seems to be ok now.

"I think we just have to wait and see happens through this planning process over the next eight weeks."

Visit or call 0161 241 8785 to have your say.