Controversial plans to build a mini-housing estate on green space in Horwich have been brought back on appeal by the developers, despite it being rejected once.

Plans for a £10m housing development were submitted by Eccleston Homes Limited in March 2020 to build 78 new homes on land off Lever Park Avenue, known as the ‘Llama Fields’.

Proposals were rejected by Bolton planners last October with the developers now appealing this decision.

An officer's report stated: “It is not considered the proposed development would constitute sustainable development as the proposed development does not contribute to protecting and enhancing the natural, built and historic environment.

“Officers consider the substantial harm to the character and appearance of the area and its landscape setting, the moderate weight attached to the failure to enhance the biodiversity of the site and the ‘some’ harm to the setting of the Grade II listed Lever Park and Garden, when weighed against the combined benefits of the scheme, significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

The original proposals received 113 letters of objection from the public, with many concerned at the loss of green space and the amount of extra traffic it would cause.

Councillors are also disappointed at these plans being taken to appeal, after such unanimous opposition led to the plans being rejected in the first place.

Town councillor Stewart Burke, who formed Lever Park Residents Association to oppose the bid, does not understand why these plans have been appealed.

He said: “Look at what the planning officers initial refusal was based upon. They were strong and valid reasons then, as they continue to be now. Nothing has changed.

Horwich North East councillor Richard Silvester added: “I am disappointed the developers have chosen to appeal as they must know the huge local feeling in objection towards any development of the field which is much loved by the community.

“The planning department rightly refused permission to build on this protected open space land which is directly adjacent to the green belt as it would spoil the character and appearance of the area and the openness of the protected open space and cause substantial visual harm.

“I know council officers have always opposed any development of this field as it is not in the council’s allocations plan as a potential housing site so I am confident the council will defend the refusal decision robustly and I am confident the appeal will be refused by the Planning Inspectorate.”

The developer’s planning agent, Lichfields, were approached for a comment.

The Planning Inspectorate will make the final decision.