A children's care home backed by a Premier League footballer was approved in spite of opposition from 28 residents in Westhoughton.

The applicant, care company Home Comforts Services Ltd, applied for planning permission for a property on Wigan Road on August 10.

According to Companies House, its director is Jamal Lewis, who is a Premier League footballer for Norwich City then Newcastle United.

It is understood the Northern Ireland international, who is on loan in the Championship with Watford, is not involved in the day-to-day operation of Home Comforts Services Ltd but he has a history of involvement in charities.

The children's care home, which is for four children between the ages of eight and 18 in need of 24-hour care, led to opposition from 28 residents who were concerned about its impact on a range of issues from property prices to a rise in anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour.

It was approved in spite of an appeal by Angela Foster, a member of the area's Residents Association, to defer the decision until these residents received assurances over the applicant's credentials and commitment to the area.

The Bolton News: David Wilkinson at Planning Committee

Ms Foster said: "This is somebody who is referred to as a Premier League footballer and this is so irrelevant to this. All it says is somebody with money wants to make more money.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't wash with us, and it shouldn't wash with any of you. You should hold him accountable and this is an opportunity to do what I believe is the right decision."

David Wilkinson, a councillor for the ward, said: "There is a lot of concern among the residents about this application because this is a Premier League footballer. He might do good things, [Marcus] Rashford is a Premier League footballer and he does good things, and for all I know this lad might want to go down this route.

"But the residents are not certain about this."

A report for consideration by the Planning Committee suggested none of the range of issues was a reason for the refusal of the proposal.

A motion for the approval of the proposal, which was supported by Bolton Council's children's services, passed by a margin of 12 votes.

Anne Galloway, a councillor for Heaton and Lostock, said: "To set up a home like this you need someone with money. 

"It wasn't the fact he was a footballer which appealed to children's services, it was the fact he had a history of charitable giving and he had an interest in the welfare of children."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.