FORMER farmland could be transformed into a 99-home estate under ambitious plans to redevelop the site.

But the plans for the field, in Bolton Road, Westhoughton — known locally as Roscoe’s Farm — have been criticised as “over-development” with councillors claiming the project could be plagued with traffic problems.

A planning application is yet to be submitted but Bolton Council planning officers and Westhoughton Town Council members have already been consulted about the proposed scheme.

The land is owned by Peel Land and Property and will be developed by Jones Homes. A mixture of three, four and five-bedroomed houses, in terraced, semi-detached and detached form, is proposed.

Despite being a greenfield site, the land does not form part of the green belt, and has been previously earmarked by Bolton Council as suitable for housing development.

Westhoughton town council leader Cllr David Chadwick said: “Because of changes to planning law this will probably go through. It looks very dense and to my mind is over-development.

“I opposed this site being included on the allocation plan in 2010. Bolton is an industrial town with lots of unused sites that should be targeted first.

"The access is opposite Westhoughton High School, which could cause disruption, and also Bolton Road is very narrow with lots of parked cars.”

Specific details of the layout, design and types of housing are expected when Peel submits the official planning application.

The plans make no provision for any replacement green space, but Jones Homes has agreed to pay a sum of money towards improving existing open space in Westhoughton.

Liberal Democrat town councillor and former member of Bolton Council’s planning committee Cllr David Wilkinson said: “As soon as Peel got their hands on it, it was always going to be housing. This has been what I call ‘grey land’ for 30 years and Bolton Council never made it green belt.”

In a brochure outlining the plans, Lambert Smith Hampton, representing Peel Land and Property, said: “The layout retains existing trees and hedgerows along the sites boundaries. Access to the site will be via Bolton Road and a full assessment of the traffic impact has been prepared.”