RESIDENTS have formed a protest group against plans for a new development on their estate.

People living in Grizedale Close, Smithills, have set up Grizedale Residents Ecological Environmental Action Team after plans were submitted by Watson Homes to demolish a bungalow and create nine houses and a four storey block of 36 apartments on the estate.

Residents say the plans are not in keeping with the estate, will impact neighbours and wildlife in the area. And they say they have received more than 650 signatures against the plans.

They fear two bungalows are to be demolished, although the plans stipulate it is just one. They put their concerns to local MP Chris Green at a protest meeting.

Bridget Martin, a spokesperson for the group, said: “It’s so stupid. Essentially they are proposing to put a four story block of flats and eight houses with 51 parking spaces on a tiny plot of land in an area where most of the housing is bungalows.

“The woodland was sold unbeknownst to everyone around here.

"The owners are proposing to put an enormous development on it.”

Parking and the impact it will on trees and wildlife in the area were other concerns put forward by residents.

Mr Green said: “To have so many people from the local community come out to protest against this unwelcome and unsuitable development sends a powerful message to me, that the council and decision makers for this development must respect the local community.

“I’m going to do what I can to make sure the development is either stopped or radically changed.”

Rob Watson, director at Watson Homes, said the developers have already reduced the number of houses and flats to accommodate residents' concerns.

He said: “We have listened to and addressed concerns regarding our plans for Grizedale Close and amended the site layout accordingly from 45 to 43 homes.

“This includes removing a top-floor apartment and one of the original houses, as well as ensuring the properties are situated at more than the minimum required distances from the site boundaries.

"We worked closely with Bolton Council to ensure that rigorous and responsible environment checks were carried out.

“Regeneration in Bolton is really gathering momentum, and we need to build the affordable homes that are a key part of this.”