A GREEN belt action group have pleaded for hundreds of homes not to be built in Little Lever, ahead of a planning meeting.

In November 2020 Watson Construction (Holdings) Ltd submitted an application to build 274 new homes on the site of the former Creams Mill and land off Hall Lane.

Plans were changed slightly for the Hall Lane site earlier this year because of ‘overdevelopment’ concerns, which reduced the number of homes from 96 to 77.

Members of the Little Lever Green Belt Action Group got together with Cllr Sean Hornby to discuss their objections on Saturday.

They shared concerns over the homes being built on green belt land, and fears that the construction work would increase traffic accidents and pollution, as well as the number of cars people would have after the homes have been built.

Steve McKinney, the group's secretary, said: “The green belt sites should be safeguarded, for future generations to enjoy.

“The development would cause substantial harm, to local infrastructure, environment and wildlife, as nature would be eroded, and once the sites are developed, they are lost forever.”

Simon Johnson, also from the action group, added: “They aren’t thinking of the kids at the nearby schools who will be around increased traffic.”

Watson Homes has said they will provide some further reassurance to residents around their concerns related to traffic and air pollution, given that their plans have significant carbon-offsetting and biodiversity measures in place.

Rob Watson, director at Watson Homes, said: “During this entire process we have liaised with the local community and taken their feedback into consideration.”

Part of the plans also include repairing the 60m breach and the restoration of a 700m stretch of the Bolton and Bury Canal to bring it back into water for the first time since 1936.

Duncan Jones from the action group said: “It will cost a huge amount of money for this to be repaired. I don’t think it needs to be anything else.”

The plans have been recommended for refusal by the planning officer Jodie Turton, with concerns over green belt land, and whether repairs to the breach are achievable.

The application could still however be approved during Thursday’s planning meeting.