Residents and councillors have shared their concerns over plans to build 3,500 new homes on largely green belt land surrounding Elton Reservoir.  

The development site has drawn much opposition from Bury and Radcliffe locals who have shared their worries over the potential impact on the wildlife and infrastructure. 

Housebuilder Peel claim they want to invest £500m in community facilities, new primary schools, transport links, and a new public park at land west of Elton Reservoir.

The area has long been earmarked for major development but previous outline plans drew much opposition, with many Bury and Radcliffe residents vehemently opposed to development on the area, which has a long history of being a place for people visit to enjoy the outdoors.

After the proposals were unveiled last week, an admin from the Bury Folk Keep it Green group, Stephen Cluer, described seeing the plans as "harrowing" adding that “it brings it home how far down the road they've gotten with the proposals". 

Bury Times: The Elton ReservoirThe Elton Reservoir (Image: Public)

Read more: Developer plans £500m investment and 3,500 homes at green belt reservoir site

He said: “The biggest concern we have seen from people so far is regarding the infrastructure.  

“Anyone who has driven through Bury recently knows how many cars are on the roads and how bad the traffic is.

Bury Times: Meeting with Peel Meeting with Peel (Image: Public)

"Imagine how much worse this is going to be with an extra 3,500 homes that are likely to have maybe two or three cars each. 

“We don’t dispute the fact that more homes are needed but we want them to be in the right place and we worry about where will they build next once this land's gone.” 

Peel said that the plans included new transport improvements which would ease congestion around Bury and Radcliffe town centres including a new link road connecting the two towns. 

Bury Times: Cllr Shahbaz Arif Cllr Shahbaz Arif (Image: Public)

However, in a meeting with Peel, Bury West councillors spoke about the additional infrastructure saying that the details were not credible.  

Cllr Shahbaz Arif said: "I raised concerns over the lack of any credible details of additional infrastructure which would be required to provide roads, schools and medical facilities.  

“As the reservior is a natural wetland, concerns were raised about the many protected species established at the site.  

Bury Times: Meeting with Peel Meeting with Peel (Image: Public)

“Building over 3000 homes would effectively develop the entire area, not leave two-thirds open as maintained by the developers. 

“It is still greenbelt land and we remain opposed to development on it.

"I urge residents to ensure their views are known and engage in the consultation" 

Sharing a similar view, Cllr Jackie Harris and Cllr Dene Vernon said they felt the consultation with affected residents was "premature" and "shouldn't be put forward at this time". 

Read more: Plans to build 1,250 homes on green belt land in Bury to be scrapped

Bury Times: Cllr Shahbaz Arif Cllr Shahbaz Arif (Image: Public)

Cllr Harris said: "Peel's consultation with affected residents is premature. 

“The Places for Everyone Examination (Greater Manchester housing plans) is still taking place in Manchester therefore no decision for Peel's project has been made.  

“This will be decided by three planning inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State, later this year." 

Commenters on the Peel survey shared their views regarding the development with a majority urging peel to "stay away" and questioning the true affordability of the homes that will be built. 

Bury Times: A concept image released by Peel as part of the Elton Reservoir developmentA concept image released by Peel as part of the Elton Reservoir development (Image: Peel)

Bury North MP James Daly also met with Peel to discuss these concerns.  

He said: "In my meeting with Peel, I reiterated my opposition to the plans and emphasised my belief that it is premature of them to be starting this consultation now considering Places for Everyone may well not progress."

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