CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 140 houses on the site of a former college in Horwich will go before Bolton Council’s planning committee today.

The plans, if approved, would see a housing estate built on the site of the former Bolton College campus in Victoria Road as well as the college’s playing field.

The application was discussed at a planning committee meeting last month but a decision was deferred to allow the applicant to have discussions with St Mary’s RC Primary School next to the college.

School bosses are concerned about the impact of the development on any future expansion needs they may have.

The school has asked for part of the site to be transferred to the school in place of funds developers are obliged to contribute towards primary education in the local area.

The council’s planning report states: “While the applicant has agreed, in principle, to the transfer of some of the application site to the school, the amount of land has not been formally agreed.”

Developers and objectors are also at loggerheads over whether the playing fields have been used within the last five years.

The developers claim it has not been used, while objectors have submitted a lease agreement from Horwich RMI junior football club, which they say shows it has been used in that time.

Planning officers have recommended that the application should go before the secretary of state for local government and communities, Eric Pickles.

Horwich town mayor and councillor for Horwich North East, Cllr Richard Silvester said: ”I am against the playing field being used for development as it is a valuable asset for future community use.

“Horwich RMI Juniors have submitted evidence that they have used the field in the past two years for football with a lease agreement.

“The rest of the site being brown field land is big enough to be developed and I believe that the applicants are being too greedy.

“They should listen to local feeling and do the decent thing and amend their plans to take out the playing field.”

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