Around a hundred residents in Darcy Lever gathered to oppose proposals to build  homes on an abandoned railway cutting.

If approved, 100 homes would be built on land off Long Lane, Darcy Lever, to the east and west on brownfield land near to Leverhulme Park, while a former railway cutting would be raised to a level platform.

Press officer for The Darcy Lever Residents Association Neil Duffield says they are “totally opposed” to the proposals on the grounds that it “contains many hundreds of trees of different species” and also serves as a habitat for many birds (including owls), deer, foxes and bats.

Neil said: “The overall effect of this proposal would be to change the nature of Darcy Lever in a radical and wholly negative way, involving not only a huge loss of trees and wildlife, but for a lengthy and completely open-ended period of time.

“The many hundreds of people whose homes border the cutting.

The Bolton News: Residents in the area are not happyResidents in the area are not happy (Image: Public)

“The cutting forms part of a vital wildlife corridor linking Leverhulme Park, Darcy Lever marshes, Darcy Lever gravel pits, Moses Gate Country Park and beyond.”

In the Design and Access statement within the planning application, it sited a number of “potential ecological constraints”, including moderate bat roosting potential, known presence of great crested newts, presence of badgers, habitat for reptiles, and more.

In the document the developers said: “The consulting ecologist from E3P has advised that achieving a biodiversity net gain will difficult to achieve in reality, given the quantum of existing habitats on site (prior to remediation).

“That said, work is ongoing to mitigate habitat loss, so far as reasonably practical, with the various opportunities provisionally allocated for additional habitat creation.”

Neil also said that residents are also concerned about Bolton’s cycle network on Gorses Road - which runs immediately alongside the cutting- being affected, which he says is in constant use by cyclists, pedestrians, and dog walkers.

The Bolton News: The cutting taken from Long Lane BridgeThe cutting taken from Long Lane Bridge (Image: Public)

The plan states it will also include green space areas with pedestrian and cycle links which are aimed at encouraging open spaces, according to the company.

Residents are also worried about the amount of disruption that would be caused during the construction period, with as many as 50 Heavy Goods Vehicle deliveries per day, which could possibly increase to 100 per day during busy periods, to infill the cutting.

Neil said: “It cannot in any way cope with between 50 and 100 HGV’s per day entering and leaving the site.

“Nor can residents be expected to put up with the chaos and inconvenience this would cause for a period very likely to be over a year – let alone the noise, dirt and dust created not just by constant HGV traffic but by the earth moving equipment inside the cutting itself only a few yards away from their homes.

“It also states that the infill will take 46 - 48 weeks to complete.”

The Bolton News: Deer spotted in the cuttingDeer spotted in the cutting (Image: Public)

The planning application for developers Muller Property Group states: “The Highways Technical Note concludes that the anticipated circa 100-200 movements undertaken on weekdays (five days a week) will not result in a severe impact on the operation of the local highway network, although it is acknowledged that there will be a demonstrable increase in HGV movements.

“Notwithstanding this, the impact of the proposals will be temporary in nature.

“It is therefore concluded that there are no highways reasons for refusal of the proposed infill.”

There have been numerous applications made to redevelop the site since the early 90s, which have been rejected, two of which both proposed to build hundreds of homes.

The developers state that their ‘vision’ is to “reinforce local traditional character” in Darcy Lever, while tackling the housing shorting in Bolton.

The site has already been allocated for housing development in Bolton’s local plan and Chief executive Colin Muller previously argued that its closeness to shops, services, schools and workplaces could make it an ideal location for the development.

The plans will be decided on by Bolton Council at a later date.

The Darcy Lever Residents Association has urged all its members and all Darcy Lever residents to view the application on the Bolton Planning Application portal (application No: 15226/22) and to send in their objections to it.

All objections must be received by March 2.

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