Residents and councillors are attending a rally this weekend to oppose plans which could see a popular park turn into a new school.

This comes after more than 1,700 people have signed a petition against plans to transform Haslam Park, in Deane, into a multi-million pound secondary school.

The mass gathering is set to take place near the children's play area at the park on Sunday at 2pm.

Organisers said there will be speeches from councillors, including Cllr Martin McMulkin, to kick off the event.

Green Party candidate for the Rumworth ward, Alan Johnson, said: "We're hoping to see as many people there as possible.

"We're not against building schools in general, but we don't think building a school on a nature reserve, which is used by children, dog walkers and footballers, is the place to do it.

"The council doesn't understand how valuable the park is to the community.

"Two thirds of the park is set to be used to build the school.

"It will lose its character and it won't be the park it once was.

"The council said the park will be reinstated 'like for like, if not better', but we're not having it.

"We have not been shown any maps or plans; we've only had verbal assurances.

"We have a banner ready for Sunday, which is inscribed with people's concerns about the plans.

"We hope that this rally will show just how much the park is loved by residents."

The land is set to be handed over the Department for Education to build a new school, provided that certain conditions are met.

The conditions, which were voiced during a recent council meeting, included assurances that the park would be reinstated, that councillors would be consulted throughout the process and that planning permission ought to be approved.

The plans to build a multi-million pound school were drawn up to tackle the shortage of high school places across Bolton.

Several residents have also opposed the plans for the school, due to the loss of green space, increase in congestion and dangers posed by nearby Wigan Road.