RESIDENTS told a government inspector that plans to build 300 houses at a neighbouring golf course have caused stress, pain and anguish.

They feel ignored, they said, as the public inquiry into plans at Horwich Golf Club continued yesterday.

Bernard Taylor, who has lived in Fleet Street for 30 years, told inspector Jonathan Felgate that surveyors, photographers, drones and helicopters had all been visiting the site in the last few months in the build up to the inquiry.

He claimed that the majority of residents are still against the Victoria Road development which was refused by councillors last year.

They hoped that developer Peel would not appeal the unanimous decision by the planning committee, according to Mr Taylor.

He said: “I wonder sometimes if this developer recognises the moral issues of their appeal, and how it affects residents and general public in terms of stress, anguish, pain, agony, and particularly, with the elderly."

The pensioner spoke after Stocks Residents' Association chairman Malcolm Harrison gave evidence at the hearing.

The local group has a front seat next to Bolton Council which is defending the planning committee's decision to refuse permission for the plans.

Mr Taylor described Peel as a "very successful" company which is used to winning and admitted he admires the developer.

He said: “We are where we are today with Peel trying to maximise the site profit, the council wanting to meet its housing targets, and our small team trying to stop what are unwanted houses and spoil what is our children’s beautiful heritage.

“We are fighting a battle with the developer with deep pockets who can afford the best advocates and specialists to fight their case. For Peel, it is purely business with no real demonstrable advantage for the residents of Horwich."

Mr Taylor described the area as one of "panoramic tranquility" and "beauty" which has become a part of "village life".

He said the site is used by on a daily basis by walkers, runners, cyclists, schoolchildren and nature groups.

Mr Taylor read extracts from the 1982 Horwich and District Plan which refers to Horwich Golf Course.

The document, which has since been superseded, states the importance of protecting and improving existing open land.

He said: “There has already been enough development in Horwich, some approved, still ongoing and there has been much development since this report was written in ‘82. In my view, it has to stop now or there will be simply no landscape left for us to protect."

The pensioner also recorded videos of traffic in the area and disputed claims that traffic would not be an issue with the development.

However, Bolton Council will no longer object to the proposal on highways grounds after reaching an agreement with the developer.

Peel has committed to contributing towards the cost of improving the Beehive Roundabout if the development goes ahead before planned roadworks are carried out.

Mr Taylor said: “There’s a thousand homes already in the pipeline – probably more than that. The road network, whatever you say, cannot cope, and won’t cope whatever the traffic experts say. I’m not an expert, but I’m also not a fool. I see experts tearing each other apart. Very highly qualified people. They know their business, and I feel, as a resident, once you start the process of obtaining planning consent or appeal, the residents get pushed to one side. In the end, we are the residents left with this problem and I feel that sometimes a lot of what we say is ignored."

Peel's legal team, which has put forward four witnesses, began giving evidence yesterday.

They argue that the need for housing in the borough outweighs other concerns. The public inquiry continues today at the town hall from 10am, concluding tomorrow.