CONTROVERSIAL plans to develop land in Horwich — previously compared to a “concentration camp” by residents — have been approved.

The committee voted in favour of the plans by Kevin and Gillian Gaskell, of Pennine Road, Horwich.

It will see a timber building replaced with a new structure for housing livestock and agricultural equipment on land off Cotswold Drive, Horwich.

A sand ménage, measuring 20 metres by 20 metres will also be built for exercising horses.

An application for the same site was withdrawn by the Gaskells in September last year after neighbours complained that the plans, which at the time included a six metre tall lighting column, would end up looking like a “World War Two concentration camp”.

Speaking at the committee, Gillian Gaskell said: “Our principle aim is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our animals.”

The new plans, which no longer contain the lighting column element, have continued to draw complaints from residents and a 16-signature petition, calling for the application to be refused, was handed into Bolton Council. Horwich Town Council also voted in favour of rejecting the plans.

Cllr Nick Peel said: “A building already exists and there is currently a building in the green belt land — this application is to replace an old building, although granted this one is slightly higher.

“I cannot see any reason for refusing this application on policy.”