PLANNING chiefs have told a developer it must pay up after it tried to get out of a deal which committed it to contributing thousands of pounds towards education in the borough.

Jones Homes agreed to pay Bolton Council more than £970,000 — the majority of it towards school education — when it was granted planning permission to build 129 homes at former Bolton Community College Campus site in Victoria Road, Horwich.

It also said it would to contribute £25,000 towards a traffic management scheme in Victoria Road, under what is known as a section 106 agreement.

But the scheme has not proven as profitable as the firm had anticipated and it submitted a new proposal under which it would only fund the traffic management scheme and stick to an agreement to provide 13 per cent affordable housing.

Draft national planning policy guidance suggests 20 per cent as a generally accepted profit level.

But the project — which was originally for 140 homes until site difficulties forced a reduction — is only due to deliver a profit of just over nine per cent.

And a planning officer’s report states that it would only rise to 13.8 per cent under the firm’s new proposals.

But Bolton Council’s planning committee vowed to make the firm pay-up when it considered the firm’s new proposition at at town hall meeting.

Horwich North East councillor Joyce Kellett, said: “I would not support this at all. Developers, when they start a development, will put things forward of what they will give us to help the area in question.

“There are too many coming back now saying they can’t do it.

“The fact is these [homes] are selling excellently, there are actually people living in them now, they’re very glamorous.

“I believe they should still stick to the original agreement.”

Her comments were echoed by fellow Labour committee member, Cllr Nick Peel.

He said: “I agree, it absolutely stinks that this happens. They are basically throwing £900,000 of essential 106 agreement money for education required of them.”

He added that allowing developers to back out of section 106 commitments could lead to problems in the council’s education and public health budgets.

And there was little sympathy from the Conservative members of the committee.

Cllr Zoe Kirk-Robinson said the developer had failed to properly carry out is surveys, while Cllr Bob Allen said it was right to hold the firm’s “feet to the fire”.

Councillors agreed that they may not get the full monies as originally agreed in the section 106 deal, but the onus was now on Jones Homes to come back with a more acceptable offer.

The developer has no right of appeal over the refusal.

Jones Homes did not respond to requests for a comment.