A CONTROVERSIAL housing development next to Pennington Flash in Leigh will provide "desperately needed" properties in the area following approval, despite more than 100 objections.

The West Leigh Waterfront plan will see 470 homes built in the near future following approval from the council’s planning committee.

The land next to Pennington Flash would see internal access roads, public open space including play facilities, and car parking for West Leigh Cricket Club in addition to the houses. Of the 470 homes being built by Taylor Wimpey, 118 will be affordable housing.

The housing waiting list in the borough is increasing and this was one of the key reasons this application was approved by the council.

Cllr Stephen Hellier, speaking at Wigan Town Hall on June 14, said: “As far as I am concerned this is a brown field site and already has approved planning permissions and a biodiversity net gain. This country is suffering from a housing crisis.

“We desperately need this. I think this is totally acceptable and I support this.”

Supporting her colleague, Cllr Janice Sharratt, added: “I can see it would be a lovely place for someone to live.

“I am sure the houses will be snapped up right away. I agree with my colleagues and I don’t see any reason why we should be turning this down.”

A total of 154 objections were submitted by local residents on this matter with lack of road infrastructure, pollution, wildlife destruction, flood risk and land instability all being causes of concern for protestors.

Cllr Dane Anderton, speaking on behalf of the Westleigh Waterfront Residents Action Group, said: “There will be up to 4000 trees or groups of trees removed from the site during construction. There will be the loss of a three hectare woodland with almost 3000 trees removed – a pond and a number of trees will be retained in the ‘woodland area’ – in terms of Carbon Capture loss Taylor Wimpey propose planting 520 trees on site – this does not replace the tree canopy loss on this site.

“This does not constitute retaining a woodland and this will have to be replaced within close proximity to mitigate increased pollution levels and traffic pollution emissions on this site.

There are fears amongst residents that this proposal, close to the Pennington Wharf development, could lead to the roads around it to become rat runs, according to the West Leigh Waterfront Residents Action Group.

The developer wanted to highlight that Wigan Borough Council has assessed the development as providing a biodiversity net gain. In addition to this, they will provide a financial contribution of £440,000 towards biodiversity enhancement works at the nearby Bickershaw Country Park site.

A Taylor Wimpey spokeswoman said: “We have worked closely with Wigan Borough Council, key stakeholders and local residents to ensure that our proposed development meets the needs of the local community. The site has outline planning permission for up to 470 homes and our reserved matters application accords fully with the principles of this permission.

“We are grateful for the feedback provided by local residents, which has been considered in our final designs.”