RESIDENTS in Eccleston and Windle have joined forces to add their voices to protests over plans to build on green belt land in the borough.

The issue of development on green spaces has been a hot topic since the drafting of the controversial Local Plan which would see green belt reduced from 65 per cent of the borough to 56 per cent from 2018 to 2033, with campaign groups launched across the borough.

Senior Labour councillors have stated development is needed for the borough to keep up with neighbouring areas and that there is insufficient land currently allocated.

The Eccleston Community Residents Association has been launched with Eccleston and Windle residents joining forces to oppose new home plans for green belt near the East Lancs.

Up to 1,000 homes could be developed close to the junction with the A580 and Rainford Road and Bleak Hill Road.

Campaigners say the junction is one of the borough's most dangerous and the homes would create a massive increase in traffic congestion, negatively impacting road safety and place greater strain on infrastructure.

Mike Greenacre, chair of ECRA said: "It truly beggars belief that St Helens Council thinks that this is an appropriate site for housing development, on such a vast scale.

"This is one of the most dangerous road junctions in St Helens; and to consider such proposals is, in our view deeply irresponsible, especially given that the council has not come forward with a plan, despite numerous requests, to deal with the substantial increase in traffic or improve road safety at this very busy junction and across the local area.

"Major road safety issues would have to be considered and integrated into any new plan in order to make the junction safe. If the council cannot provide these assurances, as a local community, we can't see how this site can be included within the plans for new house building on the scale proposed."

The ECRA expressed worries over the the proposed building of up to 2,500 new homes across Eccleston and Eccleston Park, which equates to a 51 per cent increase in population, with the site is one of six in the area to be released for development.

Resident Michelle Dennett added: "As a local community, we are not anti-development per se, however, our local area has provided its fair share of housing in recent years, with the most recent example being the 262-new home development on the former Triplex site, which has put local infrastructure under great strain.

"An extra 2,500 new homes is an astronomical amount for a semi-rural community to absorb and will simply overburden our local infrastructure, including schools, doctors, dentists and other key services.

"Given that the most recent census showed most households in the local area have two cars, it could mean more than 3,000 extra vehicles alone, from the site next to the East Lancs, with a total figure of around 5,000 extra cars in our local area, if all the homes are built. Any development that takes place must be sustainable, the Local Plan is not, and needs to go back to the drawing board."

ECRA will hold information meetings on Monday, May 22 at St Julies Church Hall, Howards Lane and at Bleak Hill Primary School on Hamilton Road, Windle. on Tuesday, June 13. Doors open at 6pm.