CONSULTATION on whether Bury's woodlands will form part of a 1,000 acre urban park will begin next month.

The proposals would see Phillips Park, Prestwich Clough and Outwood Country Park link up with woods across Salford and Bolton to form City Forest Park.

The area would create a huge green space larger than New York's Central Park.

It would feature Bridleways, footpaths, cycle-tracks — and possibly even an open-air cinema for the public to enjoy.

Bury Council is looking into a partnership with the Forestry Commission and City of Trees.

If no major objections are made during the consultation period it is likely to be transferred to the Forestry Commission on a 99 year lease similar to the one in place for Waterdale and Drinkwater Park.

Speaking at a full meeting of Bury Council, Cllr Jackie Harris said the Conservative group welcomed the prospect of the mooted partnership “to create a ‘city of trees’ as part of a commitment to improve the quality of air we breathe in.

But she asked Cllr Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, for reassurance the borough's greenbelt would not be built on.

He said: “The city of trees and forest park will go ahead , it’s whether Bury woodland is part of that.

“We will be going into public consultation in May, Prestwich, Whitefield and Radcliffe.

“If that goes well we will sign a memorandum of understanding that would commit woodland into the forest park.

“It’s an urban park, not a Kielder in the Lake District, mainly for the growing and felling of tress. Urban parks are run in partnership with City of Trees and the Forestry Commission.”

And he added that his view was that the woodland should be managed by a board encompassing the Forestry Commission , City of Trees, local stakeholders and local councillors.

He continued: “Our funding is being withdraw and we are finding it harder and harder to look after our woodland, what we are talking about it bringing the forest to the people with paths, cycle-tracks and bridleways – even an open screen cinema.

“There is no chance any of that will be built on. It’s 50 per cent bigger than Heaton Park, it will be a fantastic asset.

“We don't have the resources the forestry commission can provide. What we are talking about is bringing the forest to the people.

"And when you talk about air quality, there will be some level of tree-felling, but for every tree felled there will be something like 30 planted in urban woodland."

Information roadshows about the project will go ahead in Prestwich, Whitefield and Radcliffe after the election in May 2018