Housing scheme shocks residents
Up to 2,000 homes could be built under controversial new plans.
Nearly 40 acres of land to the north of Birstall has been earmarked for development by Charnwood Borough Council which is seeking space for housing to meet Government building targets.
The proposal has alarmed residents who live in the area and fear Leicester's suburbs will spread beyond the A46 which has long been considered a natural border for development.
Chairman of Birstall Parish Council Pat Cleer described the idea as "a bit of a shock".
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He said: "The big concern is that, if this goes ahead, we will ultimately end up with a long corridor of housing going along the A6 all the way from Leicester to Loughborough in what is a very attractive area.
"I think it will be a struggle to integrate it with Birstall as they will be on different sides of the A46.
"There is talk if the building happens it could mean Birstall gets a leisure centre, so I'm not sure what people would make of it. I don't think most will be impressed as we are still seeing a large number of houses built on Hallam Fields."
The proposed land lies north of the A46, on either side of the A6, and is owned by the Palmer-Tomkinson Trust.
The Mercury was unable to contact the trust but it understands a developer has already being lined up to take on the project.
Rothley resident Charles Tucker, 56, said: "I think it's a dreadful idea. The village is already fighting building plans for a couple of hundred homes but this suggested development is off the scale.
"Our village will become a suburb of Leicester."
Charnwood Borough Council leader Councillor David Slater accepted the idea of large scale building would be unpopular in the area.
He said: "I fully understand why people would oppose it but the Government tells us the homes should be built next to principal urban areas – in this case Leicester and its suburbs. We need to find a 15-year supply of housing land and the evidence that points us to north of Birstall is strong.
"The land is available, on offer, and is deliverable.
"We have to test whether the effects of it can be mitigated in traffic terms.
"If they can't be, we will have to go back to the drawing board but at some point these houses will have to built somewhere in the borough.
"There is a strong case for north Birstall."
The council's cabinet will discuss the issue on Thursday.
It is set to reaffirm proposals to earmark land between Hamilton and Thurmaston for 4,500 homes, and 3,000 homes between Loughborough and Shepshed.
The council is also set propose either a 500-home development west of Shepshed, or 800 homes on land on the southern tip of Loughborough, along with a 15-acre industrial park, called the Watermead Regeneration Corridor, on the west side of Thurmaston, between Thurmaston village and the Watermead Country Park.
A council spokesman said the intention was to develop new employment on the site of the former country club and next to the Hope and Anchor pub, while protecting the character of the park and seeking a more vibrant village centre.