INITIAL plans to build up to 400 homes at the site of the former East Lancs Paper Mill have been approved.

The proposals, which include details of access roads, relocating sport facilities and managing flood risk, has been agreed in principle.

According to the government's housing agency which submitted the application alongside the council, 25 per cent of the development will be affordable.

Speaking on behalf of Homes England, senior specialist Tracy Gordon, said: “This is a major opportunity to develop a housing site that meets the local housing needs.

"It is a longstanding brownfield site. This will bring it back into use and make a significant contribution to meeting local housing needs in sustainable site.”

The vacant site located east of Radcliffe town centre was formerly occupied by a large paper manufacturing factory which has since been demolished.

Most of the proposed homes would be three-bedroom units, but a mixture of dwellings ranging between one and four-bedrooms are included.

The Environment Agency initially objected to the proposal, requiring more information to ensure the development would not increase flood risk in the area.

Bury Council's head of development management, Dave Marno, said the objection was lifted the morning of the meeting.

More than 30 members of the public attended a planning meeting at Bury Town Hall on Tuesday night where one was given the opportunity to speak against the application.

Karen Pitt, a resident of Bury Road, said: "I’m concerned because of the number of houses being put onto the site. Has it been taken into consideration that when the Boxing Day flooding happened in 2015, the whole of the site was flooded?"

She also expressed worries that the amount of traffic created by the development will be "exorbitant", noting that a number of accidents have taken place on Bury Road recently.

Cllr Jackie Harris also raised the question of traffic created by the development.

She said: “Considering the traffic in the area is bad to start with, surely an extra 400 houses is going to make a considerable difference.”

Responding, Dave Giblin, Head of Highways, said that traffic signal infrastructure would be upgraded and a new crossing point would be introduce to manage the additional traffic.

Planing officers also said a residents parking scheme will be introduced within the development and may be introduced on neighbouring roads.

Under these proposals, the East Lancs Paper Mill Cricket Club located at the centre of the site, will be relocated to Tower Farm and 3.16 hectares of open space would be created. The bowling green on the site has not been used for a number of years.

The planning committee voted unanimously to approve the outline application on Tuesday night.

This means the development has been agreed in principle, the finer details will have to approved at a later stage.