BATTLELINES have been drawn over controversial proposals to build more than 200 homes on the outskirts of Colne.

Land off Knotts Lane, once used as railway sidings, has been identified for the sprawling development by Persimmon Homes.

But a groundswell of opposition has greeted the bid, amid fears it will damage an important wildlife corridor.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust has lodged a protest, claiming that the site, as ‘open mosaic grassland’ is of significant importance.

And Colne Town Council has voiced concerns that the development - which they consider to be ‘poorly designed’ - is not viable and will remain empty like apartments at the top of Knotts Lane.

Residents have written a number of letters to planners, insisting the land is a ‘natural breathing space’ for Colne.

Some have suggested that the Knotts Lane enclave and nearby Gib Hill should be incorporated into an urban park.

County officials have asked for £82,000 to fund bus and transport upgrades.

The proposals, recommended for approval by officials, will be considered by Colne’s area committee on Thursday at the town hall from 7pm.