A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build 98 new homes next to a luxury hotel development have been given the formal go-ahead.

In February, Bolton Council’s planning committee approved in principle the proposals from Jones Homes to develop land around the Last Drop Village Hotel and Spa in Bromley Cross.

That decision was taken despite massive resistance to the plans from nearby residents, who submitted more than 660 letters of objection in a bid to stop the scheme from going ahead.

Formal ratification of the plans was delegated to the council’s director of place, Stephen Young, to secure a Section 106 agreement — a deal struck between local authorities and developers to ensure developments do not have a negative impact on the surrounding area.

Under the agreement, 34 of the properties built will be affordable homes.

Jones Homes will also contribute around £373,000 towards local schools — £182,500 of which will go to Walmsley CE Primary School, and £190,500 to Turton School - to account for the expected increase in pupil numbers.

Sam Gorse, headteacher at Turton School, said that the money will not constitute an increase in the school's budget and that the school is already full to capacity.

The developer will also pay £84,294 towards improvements and maintenance of the nearest community play area, at Little Brow.

A council spokesman confirmed: “The approval decision that has now been issued is in accordance with the committee report and proposed S106 agreement.”

Jones Homes, part of the Emerson Group that acquired the Last Drop Village hotel and leisure complex last year, has specified that 41 of the properties would be sold on the open market and eight would be bungalows for social rent.

At the decisive planning meeting in February, angry residents heckled and tried to confront those committee members who voted in favour of the scheme. Ten committee members voted in favour of the proposals and 10 voted against, with committee chairman Cllr Hanif Darvesh using his casting vote to agree with planning office recommendations to approve the scheme.

Officers had concluded that the proposed scheme would not have a harmful impact on the local highway network or the amenity of neighbouring residents.

The earmarked field is unallocated ‘Other Protected Open Land’ in the council’s blueprint for future building, meaning it is not within the green belt but is protected from inappropriate development.

It is not yet known when building will start.