Campaigners battling to stop the building of houses on a field say they are facing a 'Watership Down' moment.

Plans have been put forward to develop 26 homes on land to the sout and east of Meadowcroft on Longsight Lane in Harwood.

Residents say if the development goes ahead it will set a building precedent on other protected open land.

The say the land has a large biodiversity and ancient habitat as well as a place well used by residents and wildlife.

Emery Planning previously said in a statement that the development would not “have an unacceptable impact on trees and ecology” and that it will allow “woodland sites that border the area to be maintained”.

Campaigners are urging people to get their objections in before the deadline of January 28.

The Bolton News:

Jane Holt, a member of the group, said: “This is really important green space which is strategic in its location for wildlife not just for the residents.

“It’s an obstruction to them and we have an abundance of deers running about.

“The animals need the access this land gives them.”

The planning application states there will be a mix of mews and detached properties with up to five-bed homes.

The Bolton News:

The site is designated as ‘Other Protected Open Land’ (OPOL) which forms part of the wider Croal Irwell Valley at Harwood.

This is another worry for residents who say OPOL should not be used for development and another location should be more suitable.

Jane said: “They are easily able to find anywhere else for this development so we wish


“The plans will create barriers to the habitat area which means they can’t get to their homes.

The Bolton News:

“And the walkway will be by the roads if this goes ahead, so we’re going from a woodland route to a road way.

“You end up with a slow urban creep that envelopes all open space, so soon we will be left with very little.”


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The group are concerned the animals will be moved further and further back away from the site and with a tiny space to call their home.

Jane, who also runs the litter pickers group says that will continue to object to the plans and to  protect the wildlife that lived there as they felt it was unfair to lose such a beautiful space.