A controversial plan to build a new home on greenbelt village land has been thrown out by town hall officials.

But planning bosses have been warned that this may not be the end of attempts to build a on the land at Scholars Rise, in Eagley behind the Spread Eagle pub.

The plan was brought before Bolton Council this week after more than 500 people signed a petition, presented to the committee by Simon Lees, opposing the move.

Cllr Amy Cowan, of Bromley Cross, said: “This site is within the Eagley Village conservation area.

“It is greenbelt land and of ecological and scientific value.”

The Bolton News: The plans have now been rejectedThe plans have now been rejected (Image: Bolton Council)

Cllr Cowan dismissed claims that it would help Bolton meet its need for housing stock, to applause from the public gallery.

She said: “This is a nonsense, this is one very large home and it is hardly a starter home.”

A previous plan to build on the land had drawn strong opposition and was rejected in 2021.

The committee also heard from supporters of the plan, including Russell Woods who acted as agent for the developers.

He accepted that concerns were “a natural response” but said he believed that the land would be enhanced by a development like this.

The Bolton News: The land off Scholars RiseThe land off Scholars Rise (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Woods also said that a single extra property should not have been considered to be “overdevelopment.”

Cllr Anne Galloway, of Heaton, Lostock and Chew Moor, said she was aware of the strong local objections but felt special circumstances applied that justified building on greenbelt land.

She said: “This particular piece of land is completely surrounded by residential housing.”

But other members of the planning committee felt allowing the development could have set a dangerous precent.

Cllr David Grant, of Horwich South and Blackrod, felt that this could be “the precursor to further development.”

Such thoughts were echoed by other members.

Cllr Martin Donaghy, of Tonge with the Haulgh, said: “The fact of the matter is that in any built up area a small bit of greenspace is the only bit of pleasant land that is available to people.”

Others felt that they needed to take a stronger stand in favour of people who were concerned about developments like these.

Cllr Debbie Newall, of Kearsley, said: “We come to this committee every month and mitigate building on greenbelt land and we never seem to take into account the feelings of the people who live there.”

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She added: “We make the decisions and then other people have to live with them!”

For this reason, she said she would vote to reject the plans.

But the members were warned by chairman Cllr John Walsh and by council officer Matthew Kay, amid an outburst from the public gallery, that they were ensure they would be able to legally defend a decision to refuse the proposal on planning grounds.

Nevertheless, the majority of committee members voted to refuse the plans.