A CAMPAIGN group has voiced concerns over "potential chaos" at Windle Island if plans to build houses on green belt land near the East Lancs go ahead.

Eccleston Community Residents' Association (ECRA), which consist of Eccleston and Windle residents, has leafleted homes after the start of works on the Windle Island Improvement Scheme.

Green belt campaigners in Rainford have already claimed the £7m improvements works will be "all for nothing" if developments under the Local Plan go ahead.

The controversial Draft Local Plan, which would see the green belt reduced from 65 per cent of the borough to 56 per cent, suggests building up to 1,000 homes built close to the junction with the A580 and Rainford Road and Bleak Hill Road.

The ECRA has said 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 placing greater strain on infrastructure.

The group states there will be an extra 200 HGV and an additional 1,000 cars using the A580 each day "without considering any future development such as a huge, unnecessary housing estate alongside the already busy route".

While welcoming a safer more disciplined crossing, the group claims plans will lead to an increased risk of collisions from vehicles leaving the Tesco and Starbucks site entering on to Rainford Road, particularly for those crossing over to Bleak Hill Road.

The ECRA adds the scheme "makes no provision for improved safety in these danger zones".

Campaigners claim they have analysed current and future traffic using the junction of Bleak Hill Road and Rainford Road, and estimate the proposed housing estate could result in an extra nine vehicles a minute entering on to Bleak Hill Road at peak times.

This will cause more traffic queues backing up to Dentons Green Lane and Kiln Lane, it is claimed.

An ECRA statement said: "As St Helens Council have now released their welcome and ambitious plan to redevelop the town centre, ECRA are concerned that residents will be less likely to shop in our town if the routes are congested.

"Refusing to allow developers to build on green belt in Windle and Eccleston will be a positive sign that the council are listening to these concerns."

St Helens Council has previously said that the Windle Island scheme will improve safety, traffic flow, and access in and out of St Helens at one of the region’s busiest road junctions.

It will aim to support economic growth through improved access to key sites such as Haydock Industrial Estate and Liverpool’s SuperPort.

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.