Dubbed MU1, the area stretches between Gawber, Higham, Pogmoor, Redbrook and Barugh Green and was allocated for development under the council’s local plan blueprint for future housing and business growth.
However, Barugh Green Road resident David Mallard believes the land he has always looked out on is ‘dangerously unstable’ due to its history as an opencast mine.
“If they can build on that land, they can build on thin air,” said the 78-year-old.
“I remember seeing the mine in action and used to watch them working.
“It was a big operation and there’s no way it can suddenly be stable now.”
All coal sites on the land - which included Craven I, Craven II, Hunters Cottage and Farm House Lane - were backfilled.
Craven II was excavated to depths of almost 45 metres from 1957 to 1963, which David is convinced will have caused instability issues.
An application has been submitted by Strata Homes and Sterling Capitol which includes full permission for a 229-home estate, a link road to join two already-approved new roundabouts and 43 hectares of employment land.
Outline approval for the development of 1,531 homes, a new 420-space primary school and ‘community facilities’ is also being sought.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, added: “We are yet to see a report from the applicant which explains their findings, but once we do, it will be sent to the Coal Authority for them to assess.
“This matter will then be considered alongside all the other issues that were raised in consultation responses, including the ones from local residents.”