GREEN space could be used to build social housing in an area which is becoming "saturated" with developments, according to local politicians.

Bolton At Home's plan to build the 48 houses next to playing fields in Horwich has been met with dismay.

The grassy land behind Singleton Avenue is next to a protected recreation site but this specific spot was earmarked for housing by the council years ago.

A mixture of two and three-bedroom houses would be built alongside two bungalows if the plans are passed.

Most of these would be owned and managed by the housing association but eight could be offered as part of a shared ownership arrangement.

Bolton At Home vice-chair Kevin McKeon, who represents the Horwich North East ward as a councillor supports the plans.

He noted concerns about the number of new housing developments in the area but argued that social housing is desperately needed to tackle hidden homelessness in the area.

He said: "Clearly, Horwich is facing a lot of development. However, most of that development is houses for private ownership and we must not neglect those people who can’t buy. And there are many, many of them."

The Labour councillor also mentioned that the housing association would operate a "local lettings policy" which would benefit Horwich residents.

However, Conservative councillor Susan Baines said infrastructure is "quaking" and new developments, like the 1,700 homes at Rivington Chase, will only make this worse.

She said: "People in Horwich are sick of what is going on at the moment. We seem to be taking the brunt of these houses. I think enough is enough and we need to be looking elsewhere for housing developments to take place."

The Horwich and Blackrod councillor is "totally opposed" to developing the site in her neighbouring ward as is town councillor Gordon Stone.

He said: “Green spaces throughout Horwich continue to be preyed on by greedy developers."

The Liberal Democrat candidate for the ward stressed the importance of a brownfield first policy.

A spokesman for Horwich First Community group agreed.

He said: "There should be no building on any of our playing fields, green belt, or open spaces. Horwich is already taking more than it's fair share of the borough's housing provisions, this is unacceptable.

"In the last year we have lost the football fields at Horwich College and Chorley New Road School, the golf course is also at risk, enough is enough. Pickup's Field should be rejected and removed from the housing allocation list!"

A total of 32 properties in the immediate area were consulted on the plans by the housing association.

While there was general concern about the development, there were some positives, according to the application.

In particular, the affordable housing scheme was acknowledged as "a positive" and "much-needed", they said.

However, there were some concerns about parking and traffic disruption.