MAJOR funding totalling £9.87m is set to be released today to create a new enclave between Bury and Rochdale.

Controversial plans to build up to 1,000 homes, a new primary school and employment units are at the heart of the South Heywood scheme.

The wider Northern Gateway programme - revolving around the M62's north-east corridor and spanning Bury, Rochdale and Oldham boroughs, could see 40,000 jobs created and 10,000 new homes built.

Protesters have previously argue that the South Heywood open space, just off junction 19 of the M62, should be preserved.

But with planning permission now approved for amendments to a link road for the ambitious scheme, another step forward is expected later.

Mayor Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority have been recommended to approve the last part of a £10.3m financial package, under the government's Growth Deal programme, which would pave the way for the site's widescale regeneration.

Land bounded by Pilsworth Road, on the Bury border, stretching along Manchester Road, Hareshill Road and points to the west of the M62, are incorporated within the blueprints.

In a joint report by Mr Burnham and Eamonn Boylan, GMCA chief executive, it is confirmed the cash support, ostensibly for a 2.2km link road from junction 19 to Hareshill Road, will be pulled from two sources.

While £6.87m comes courtesy of the Growth Deal initiative, another £3m has been earmarked as part of the Northern Gateway project, a wider effort to revive the fortunes of prime sites either side of the motorway.

The report states: "Provision of a new link road from junction 19 of the M62, to unlock access to existing and planned

employment sites at South Heywood, is a key priority..."

Work could begin as early as this autumn on the link road, though early site preparations are understood to already be underway, amid claims it could ultimately relieve traffic congestion in Heywood town centre.