A CAMPAIGN group which opposes plans for a £100 million pound Manchester racecourse want the Government to step-in and decide whether the massive scheme should get the go ahead.

Campaigners from Residents Against Greenbelt Erosion (RAGE) believe that Peel Holdings' plan to build the racecourse and adjoining leisure facilities would create traffic chaos on the roads and destroy green belt land on the outskirts of Astley and Boothstown.

Up to 20,000 racegoers are expected to flock to the new 1,700 acre course and RAGE have called on the Secretary of State to hold a public inquiry to decide the fate of the scheme.

When the plans are submitted to Salford Council planning chiefs, representatives from RAGE will deliver a letter to the Government's North West office to ask them to appoint an inspector to oversee any potential public inquiry.

The ambitious proposals are expected to be submitted within the next four weeks.

Mike Howard, spokesman for RAGE, said: "The quality of life for residents would be severely affected by air pollution from traffic fumes, and clogged up roads. The invasion of thousands of people will damage the environment and wildlife in the area."

But a Boothstowner in his fifties told The Journal that his opinion was the racecourse complex scheme offered the best hope of preserving the greenery of Botany Bay Wood and the Malkins Wood Farm area.

He said: "I was born in Boothstown village and the wood and farmland have always been out of bounds since the days when they were the Earl of Ellesmere's sporting estate.

"Maybe now people other than the odd poacher from the past can enjoy them. And it might also stop any future unwanted development on that side of the canal."

Entrances to the course have been earmarked as a spur off the A580 at the Queen's Arms junction at Boothstown and off the M60 slip road at Worsley.

The original proposals were withdrawn two years ago following a storm of protests from residents who believed the project would have a damaging effect on the environment.

RAGE were formed two years ago by three residents' associations -- Worsley Village Community Association, Boothstown Residents' Association and Worsley Civic Trust and Amenity Society.