A CONTROVERSIAL housing estate plan in Little Lever could be decided soon, a councillor has said.

Watson Construction (Holdings) Ltd submitted an application to build 274 new homes in November last year on the site of the former Creams Mill and land off Hall Lane.

A site notice was placed at the development locations this week.

Watson’s has also pledged to regenerate the disused Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal, repairing the breach and restoring water to the former route, with extensive documentation on the feasibility of carrying this out within the planning application.

Plans were tweaked for the Hall Lane site earlier this year due to ‘overdevelopment’ fears, reducing the number of homes from 96 to 77. This change meant not all homes at Hall Lane were to be ‘affordable housing’ as previously stated. And 61 per cent of the overall development will include affordable homes with all of these at the Creams Mill and Mytham Road section.

Chairman of the Little Lever steering group, Cllr Sean Hornby, anticipates the plans will come before the planning committee and be decided upon in November.

He said: “Council officers could recommend it for refusal because of the impact it will have on green land but the committee could come to an agreement to pass it still. Watson’s will also get a lot of time to talk at the committee meeting to argue their case.

“They have guaranteed they can and will fix the canal breach which could benefit the green land and there is a need for housing so my instinct is that it will be passed by the committee but recommended for refusal by officers as in the council’s 25 point plan for the borough there are at least two aspects about protecting green belt.”

He believes the area can cope with the additional housing and a proposal to repair the canal breach would benefit Little Lever.

Kath Harris and Simon Johnson, residents of Cedar Avenue, pulled together residents from surrounding roads in opposition to the plans.

Simon said: “It’s a bottleneck coming down Mytham Road which can hardly fit a bus down it. Little Lever just can’t take it, the number of cars this will bring is just worrying.

Rob Watson, director at Watson Homes, said: “We anticipate that our application for the proposed development at Creams Mill and Hall Lane will be heard by the planning committee before the end of the year. During this entire process we have liaised with the local community and taken their feedback into consideration.”