Cowlishaw is an area of open greenfield land with a total area of 32.31 hectares(almost 80 acres). It is a peaceful wildlife haven with established woodland and 3 Sites of Biological importance( 2 ponds and a fen).
Cowlishaw has been identified as one of only two Landscape Character Areas in the Borough and is the source of the River Irk.
It is an unspoilt area of protected land which has a number of public footpaths which are widely used by people of all ages.
It is especially popular with dog walkers and also the Ramblers Association as Crompton Circuit recreational route [RR12] runs through the site.
COWLISHAW SHOULD REMAIN UNTOUCHED TO ALLOW A BREATHING SPACE
BETWEEN CONURBATIONS AND TO MINIMISE URBAN SPRAWL
Within the Borough are a number of areas of locally protected open countryside called "Other Protected Open Land" (OPOL) and Cowlishaw has this classification.
OPOL is open land which is locally important because it helps preserve the distinctiveness of an area. As well as providing attractive settings, the open green space provides other benefits, such as informal recreation and habitats for biodiversity, therefore helping to provide sustainable communities and help mitigate climate change.
The main aim is to protect OPOL from development, however, development will be permitted where it is appropriate, small-scale or ancillary development located close to existing buildings,which does not affect the openness, local distinctiveness or visual amenity of the OPOL, taking into account its cumulative impact.
Amending the boundary or developing any part of the site for any use would involve the permanent loss of green infrastructure/open space and biodiversity.
There are currently 22 OPOL's within the borough and there is one area of land which is reserved for future development [LRFD].