HUNDREDS of new homes could be built over a golf course.

Property giant Peel Investments has revealed that it wants to build around 300 homes at the Horwich Golf Course and surrounding land.

The multi-billion pound developer, which is also attempting to build a new championship golf course and more than 1,000 houses at the Hulton Park Estate, distributed a leaflet to neighbours around the Victoria Road area yesterday as part of a consultation on the plans.

The company is aiming to apply to Bolton Council for planning permission by the end of November to build the family homes.

Peel's plans have already provoked anger in Horwich, but it is feared that Bolton Council could be powerless to stop the development.

The golf course has ‘Protected Open Space’ status, but the Government has recently overturned town hall attempts to block building on similar land in Blackrod and Westhoughton.

In its leaflet, Peel states that the council is 'currently unable to provide sufficient housing to meet its targets' and that new development like this are 'required to meet the housing needs of the borough'.

Horwich North East councillor Richard Silvester said: "I was elected last year on a promise that I was against any proposals to build on Horwich Golf Course and I still am.

"We knew that plans would come forward at some stage in the future but this is much quicker than anyone had expected. I am working with some of the residents' associations in Horwich to oppose such plans.

"I know that residents living on both Mayfair and Bond Close will be completely against opening up the ends of their roads as access ways into the new development and traffic along Victoria Road will also greatly increase because of this new development as well.

"Peel has a reputation of upsetting people wherever they seem to purchase land. The residents in Hulton are fighting their corner over there and next it will be my residents. I am alongside them 100 per cent.

"Unfortunately the Government inspector’s decisions in relation to the planning applications in Blackrod and Westhoughton on Protected Open Space land has not helped the situation.

"It has now been made much easier by the Government to build on such land and perhaps this is why Peel have chosen to make their move now whilst the momentum in relation to the Planning Inspectorates decisions are on their side.

"Because of this I fear that once any planning application is submitted, it will be an uphill struggle to get such an application refused if it went to appeal."

Concerns have repeatedly been raised about a lack of infrastructure in Horwich to cope with the 1,700 new homes planned for the old Loco Works site and the 130 earmarked for the former Bolton College campus in Victoria Road, which is next to the golf course.

A Horwich First community group spokesman said: "Peel and other developers are going to take advantage of Bolton Council's failure to deliver housing within its allocation plan.

"We have seen that happen at Westhoughton and Blackrod and the blame can be squarely laid at the door of Bolton Council.

"This is going to put additional pressure on the limited infrastructure in Horwich. It will mean more people, more children, more cars and Bolton Council is failing to plan ahead for this."

Peel states that the development would comprise a mixture of two, three, four, and five-bedroom mews, semi-detached, and detached homes.

The company adds that 35 per cent of the housing delivered on the site will be affordable housing and that the development would provide 'much-needed' quality family homes.

Founded in 1895 by staff of the local Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, the golf club professes to be the oldest member of the Bolton Golf Association still using the same course.

The Bolton News has contacted the golf club for a comment.