THE first stage of a 830-home development has been approved.

The green light has been given to Tarleton Estates Ltd to build on land west of Leigh Road South and Bee Fold Lane in Atherton.

The application, which covers 31.9 hectares, includes the development of nearby pedestrian footpaths in a bid to improve connections with the guided busway.

Crab Tree Lane will be widened as part of the proposals and there will be signalised access off Leigh Road to strengthen transport links.

Wigan Council leader Cllr David Molyneux said: “We are committed to enabling the building of 10,000 new homes within the borough over the next decade to match demand, especially among young families or first time buyers wanting to get on to the property ladder.

“Our ambition is to encourage more people to live and work in the borough and that starts by working with developers to produce quality housing.

“The application from Tarleton Estates will not only significantly contribute to delivering this, but also has benefits for local residents who use surrounding footpaths and the guided busway regularly.

“It is important that we support sustainable developments in the borough to match housing needs and support growth in our local economy.

“Good quality new housing along with improved transport links provides the right mix to keep our local economy growing."

The application was deferred in July after concerns were raised about the access to the site.

It has now been decided that is is acceptable with a number of conditions imposed.

The impact on schools, highways, air quality and wildlife were considered.

Tarleton will make Section 106 contributions which is an agreement to help residents in the community affected by the development.

It has also vowed to replace any loss of trees and that the large pond on Bee Fold Lane will not be affected.