A highly controversial plan to build an emergency power station over a former football pitch is up for a vote tomorrow (Thursday).

The long-debated proposal for a battery supply compound on Slack Lane in Westhoughton has appeared in various forms for nearly a decade.

Now the latest version of the plans, lodged in April last year, are set to go to town hall for a final vote.

Bolton West MP Chris Green said: “I have lodged my opposition with the council over the siting of this battery storage unit.

“There are examples of storage units like these spontaneously combusting, I don’t know if that’s because of the batteries themselves or the components.”

The Bolton News: The plans are up for a vote at Bolton Town HallThe plans are up for a vote at Bolton Town Hall (Image: Electric Land)

Mr Green referred to examples in London where he said similar kinds of storage units had caught fire.

He said: “We’re looking at potential fires that could occur for days on end because we’ve heard from the fire brigade how it’s actually very difficult to put out these kinds of chemical fires.

“So it just isn’t suitable for a residential area.”

The Bolton News: Amanda Armstrong and other residents at the Slack Lane siteAmanda Armstrong and other residents at the Slack Lane site (Image: Newsquest)

The now vacant land off Slack Lane, north of Manchester Road, was used as a football pitch until the early 2000s.

As well as Mr Green, 18 people living nearby have also sent in letters of objection about the proposal, while Westhoughton Town Council also raised concerns.

A petition drafted by Amanda Armstrong, with a total of 178 signatures opposing the plan, has been handed in raising concerns about the impact on wildlife and the loss of land.

But Bolton Council officers have recommended that the battery storage unit be approved, arguing that it could help the move to a low carbon economy.

A report also found that amended plans could still meet fire safety requirements.

It said: “The applicant has provided a draft Fire Strategy which contains a number of mitigations including references to temperature control, adequate ventilation, large scale fire testing of the system, clear signage, vegetation control, secured site, fire detection and suppression systems, emergency response plan and decommissioning plan.

“Officers would recommend for the applicant to submit a detailed Fire Strategy which covers all these elements in detail and would be ultimately approved by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

“This strategy would need to ensure compliance with the guidance produced by the National Fire Chief’s Council.

“Officers consider that it reasonable to condition this requirement prior to first commercial operation of the development.”

ALSO READ: Emergency power station for National Grid could be built in Bolton

ALSO READ: Plan for new battery compound on farmland off Slack Lane rejected

ALSO READ: Fight against power unit continues

Electric Lane, the company behind the planned battery unit says it has already taken fire safety into account and will continue to work with the fire and rescue service.

A spokesperson said: "As part of the planning application process and considering the fire service guidance for BESS developers published last year, we have submitted extensive information covering the fire safety strategy for the site.

"Once the development is approved, and before the plant is put to commercial use, we will work in conjunction with the fire and rescue service to ensure the site is safe and in accordance with the latest regulations.

"The safety of our employees and the local residents is very important to us, and we are happy to address any concerns they may have regarding our proposals."

The vote is set to take place at Bolton Town Hall on Thursday February 1.