PLANS for 13 new affordable homes on land in Farnworth have been given the green light.

But the proposals could still be scuppered after residents applied to have the land given protected “village green” status.

Great Places Housing Group submitted proposals to build homes on land in Highfield Road, as well as a new road which would be built down the centre of the site.

A report to the council’s planning committee said that the land is currently used for informal recreation use, and approval would lead to the loss of land used by children, dog walkers and a communal open space for residents.

But the site is earmarked for housing in the council’s core strategy and at a meeting on Thursday planning chiefs referred the scheme to the authority’s director of development and regeneration for final approval.

It is expected to be approved following the signing of an agreement by Great Places to provide up to £5,000 to improve nearby play facilities.

But at the meeting it was also revealed residents have applied to have the land made a village green, which would prevent any building taking place there. Objector John Sterling, speaking on behalf of residents in and around Highfield Road, said: “We feel that our objection doesn’t have anything to do with the building as such — it’s the loss of amenity.

“This green is loved and used and valued by a lot of people.”

Planning committee member Kevan Jones said: “We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

“We have a need for this type of affordable housing in the area, but we’ve got to balance that with the use of a greenfield site.”

Hanif Darvesh, the committee’s deputy chairman, said that the housing association had got it wrong and said it should have planned to build fewer houses but retain some of the green space.

Cllr Nick Peel said that the only alternative was building on protected green belt land to fulfil the need for new housing.

He said: “Unless we’re prepared to relinquish whole swathes of green belt land, mainly in the west of Bolton, then we’ll have to relinquish small pieces of land like this.”