TWO massive new housing estates planned for farmland in Widnes look set to be given the go ahead.

Halton Council’s development management committee meets on Monday where it is recommended to rubber stamp two applications by Redrow for a combined 479 properties on 52 acres of greenfield land in the north of the town.

The first - Mill Green Farm on land to the south of Mill Green Lane – will consist of 428 properties, with the second – Oak Villa – seeing 51 homes built to the south of South Lane.

If given the go ahead, they would consist of one, two, three, four and five bed properties. Legislation requires that a percentage of new homes are classed as affordable, and the plans include provision for 96 'affordable' properties split across both estates.

The site used to be protected by the Green Belt – a zone where construction was highly restircted to act as a buffer against urban encroachment into the countryside – but those protections were removed last year when the council voted  unanimously to approve its latest delivery and allocations local plan (DALP,) a blueprint which set out the borough’s planning policy up to 2037. With the area instead being earmarked for housing.

Council bosses said at the time the move was necessaary due to a lack of previously developed brownfield land needed to fulfil the borough's housing requirements.

A new report to planning chiefs said 154 objections have been received, with concerns ranging from impact on highways, impact on former green belt land and affordable housing. Concerns had also been raised about infrastructure, including the impact on local schools and GPs.

But the report said: “The local education authority have stated that there is sufficient capacity within the Halton Borough in terms of primary and secondary school provision based on existing population levels. In addition, it should also be noted that latest population projections do not predict significant increases in the number of school age residents over the plan period to 2037.”

It added that there had been no request for additional funding from any public health body as a result o the application. It added: "It is not considered sufficient reason for refusing a grant of planning permission for residential development on a strategic housing site.”

Recommending approval, it said: “The development proposal is a well-designed housing scheme that comprises a visually attractive layout with good quality architectural design of the applicant’s heritage line of housing that is consistent with the appearance of the Redrow scheme along Lunts Heath Rd and Barrows Green Lane.

“Whilst this is undoubtedly a significant change from the undeveloped appearance on site at present, the proposed development is consistent with that envisaged by the DALP land allocation.”