PLANS for new homes and conversions were largely approved by councillors - but one scheme was blocked.

Members of Bolton Council's planning committee voted through a number of applications yesterday.

But the committee rejected plans for 12 houses as Ratcliffes Farm in Wingates Gate, Westhoughton, which enjoys planning permission from the 1960s to store up to 250 caravans on the site.

Cllr Anna-Marie Watters said: "Everybody on this committee clearly does not want building on Green Belt land and we're all agreed on that and that's what has caused a lot of debate today about protecting the Green Belt.

"Irrespective of the fact there's caravans sat there at the minute – which is beyond belief – the fact is, this is Green Belt land and we as a committee need to be protecting this type of land in our community for everybody."

They gave the thumbs-up to a proposal to demolish one house in Chorley Road, Westhoughton, and build 12 five-bedroom houses.

Objector David Ashton said: "It will be overbearing and out of scale."

Ward councillor Zoe Kirk-Robinson highlighted the overdevelopment of the town more generally, the fact the access point would be on a dangerous bend in the road, an increase in traffic, and her concerns about flooding and drainage.

She insisted a full ecological report needs to be carried out.

Referring to trees, Cllr Debbie Newall said: "There's an awful lot of destruction for the sake of 12 houses."

Several councillors suggested deferring the application for an full ecological report but a motion to defer was voted down by a majority and the application was approved by 12 votes to seven.

The committee considered an application from the Great Places Housing Group for 25 houses on land north of Park Road, Little Lever, and opted unanimously to defer it so the developer could consider other options.

Objector Michael O'Neill raised four areas of concern: parking, the road width as it is under the recommended width for a residential street, lighting pollution from car headlights and loss of amenity in the sense of the loss of the field and trees.

Councillors approved a change of use of a single large property in Victory Road, Little Lever, as two Houses in Multiple Occupation, and similarly waved through an 'infill' extension between AK Grocers in Lowther Street and Westbourne Avenue, Great Lever.

They backed retrospective Listed building consent to retain two roller shutters, new doorways, replacement windows, a replacement walkway, lighting columns and works to two loading bays at Grecian mills in Lever Street, Great Lever.

Plans to change the use of The Iron Church in Blackburn Road, Astley Bridge, from retail to education and training were agreed as was an application to use an office in St Georges Road as five apartments.