Local councillors are gearing up for a ‘David vs Goliath’ clash after a house-builder set its sights on Widnes playing fields.

Miller Homes has launched a local consultation about plans to build up to 120 new homes on land off Prescot Road in the town. Marketing materials delivered to local resident said the company was working in discussion with Pex Hill Football Club and was ‘committed to improving existing sports facilities’ and providing new equipment.

Its plans - which it said would form the basis of a planning application due to be submitted to the council in due course - would include a new housing estate, five-a-side and seven-a-side pitches and play area.

Councillors in both the Hough Green ward - where the fields are located - and in the neighbouring Highfield ward, said they are 'committed to opposing' the  development.

Hough Green councillor Kevan Wainwright has launched an online petition backed by fellow ward councillors Phil Harris and Sandra Baker, while Cllr Andrea Wall has also launched one for the Highfield ward supported by fellow ward Cllrs Bob Gilligan and Cllr Paul Nolan.

Miller Homes has already received planning permission for more than 500 properties in Widnes on land that was earmarked by the council for housing in its Delivery and Allocations Local Plan (DALP), a document which outlines the borough’s planning priorities up until 2037. But the land off Prescot Road is not slated for housing, but sporting/recreational green space.

Miller has been reportedly eyeing the current site for more than two years, with Cllr Harris having declared the fields to be 'sacrosanct' back in 2021.

Cllr Harris said the new proposals ‘fly in the face’ of the approved DALP and borough sports policy.

He said: "It beggars belief that this housing developer thinks it can now start concreting over what little protected green space is left in Hough Green.

"This may well be a David fighting a Goliath battle, but we are confident we - and the local community we are going to help mobilise - are going to win this.

"I also believe a lot of those engaged in sport across Widnes will agree this should be withdrawn, never mind submitted for permission."

A Halton Council spokeswoman, said: "At this stage no planning application has been submitted. The site is allocated as playing fields within the DALP and not for housing, and the land shown on the consultation document is not within the council’s ownership."

Miller Homes declined to comment.

The petitions can be found here and here.