A DATE has been set for an appeal hearing into previously rejected plans for a 75-home estate on ‘well loved’ green fields close to the West Pennine moors.

The plans, for ‘Llama Fields’ on Lever Park Avenue, Horwich, were thrown out by Bolton Council last year amid massive opposition to the plans.

Developer Eccleston Homes has appealed the decision, made by Bolton Council’s planning committee, and a government planning inspector will now hear their case in September for permission to put up 75 homes at the site.

The plans are for 36 four-bedroom houses, 24 three-bedroom houses, nine two-bedroom houses, four two- bed apartments and two one-bedroom apartments.

Forty-one of the houses are proposed to be detached, eight are to be semi-detached and 20 are to be terraced houses.

The woodland around Old Lord’s Farm at the east of the site is proposed to remain undeveloped.

More than 110 letters of objection were received during the appeal application process.

The objections included ‘the land is protected open land and should be protected from development’ and that ‘Horwich has had more than its fair share of new housing and is full to capacity’.

Other objectors said ‘housing should be built on brownfield sites instead’ that ‘there is space within the Horwich Loco site to build the required houses’ and ‘the land is important to and well loved by local residents’.

Arguments were also made that the site is at the gateway to Lever Park and Rivington and is a transition between the settlement of Horwich and the country park and moorlands.

A concern was also raised about contamination due to the former use of the site as a plague burial pit.

Chorley Council, which has land adjoining the site, has objected to the appeal proposal on the basis that it is contrary to the Bolton’s local plan and due to the adverse impact on the character of the area.

A further issue they raised was the ecological impact of the development on Shaw’s Clough and Shaw’s Wood biological heritage site.

In a statement prior to the appeal hearing, which has been set for September 21, Bolton Council, said: “The proposed residential development of the application site would represent inappropriate development of ‘other protected open land’ and would also not maintain or respect the character and appearance of the area and its landscape setting. It is considered the adverse impacts of the development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposed development.

“The appeal site measures approximately three hectares, is wholly greenfield.

“The majority of the site is grassland and it is currently used for grazing.”

The council believes the development has the potential to cause harm to the special nature conservation interest of the West Pennine Moors and harm to the setting of the neighbouring grade II listed Lever Park.