CONSTRUCTION has started at the last minute on a controversial housing development on a former farm.

Fury has been reignited over the case of Roscoe's Farm in recent months.

In 2015, planning permission was granted by a narrow margin to Peel Land and Property and Jones Homes for the building of 106 homes on the Westhoughton site. The permission was due to expire yesterday, if ground had not been broken by then on the site off Bolton Road. Residents were surprised this week to see that construction has started at the last minute before the permission ran out.

Councillor David Wilkinson says he and other residents received a letter declaring that the first 19 homes are now underway.

He said: "I'm really annoyed. Builders have turned up and started digging. Rubble has been brought in. There's going to be heavy machinery on a tight bend on Bolton Road."

"Residents are being driven around the twist with the noise of the pile drivers."

In December, Peel Land also submitted a second plan to add more homes to the development. The application to build an additional 22 homes, taking the total to 128, was unanimously rejected at a Westhoughton Town Council meeting and is due to be discussed by Bolton Council. Councillors have been arguing against the development, citing the lacking infrastructure to support the cars which would come with new residents and the nearby nature reserve.

Cllr Wilkinson added: "It seems like they are planning as they go. It's like painting by numbers. People should be able to see what they are planning in total."