THE construction of the first 98 homes on a controversial 200-property housing estate has come a step closer despite strong local opposition.

Senior Pendle councillors have given planning boss Neil Watson delegated authority to approve the details of the development at Further Clough Head in Nelson.

The proposal from PEARL Together Ltd covers 25 acres of fields off Marsden Hall Road.

The scheme, which has received a government grant of £1.149million, will see the building of two, three and four-bedroomed homes.

It was debated twice by Pendle Council’s Policy and Resources Committee with several local residents, and Nelson East’s Lancashire county councillor Azhar Ali attended to object to the current proposal.

Malcolm Foster, one of the residents opposed to the scheme who addressed councillors, said: “I am disappointed at the decision.

“It is the wrong development in the wrong place.

“We will continue to oppose this housing development in the hope we can persuade the council into a change of heart.”

The estate being developed by PEARL Together - a consortium involve Pendle Council, Barnfield Investment Properties and social homes provider Together Housing Group - had previously been granted outline planning permission.

Cllr Ali said: “I have been opposed to this scheme since day one as it destroys a green lung for the town,

“If we have to have it, 200 houses is too many. It’s over-development.

“The scheme should be scaled back and the houses should be stone-built like most of those in Nelson and not look like prefabs.

“I would prefer it if these houses were built somewhere else. There also needs to be traffic-calming measures on Barkerhouse Road and surrounding streets for safety.

“Pendle Council’s motto is ‘Putting people first’, in this case they are putting local people last.”

Paul Simcock, of Further Clough Head Action Group, said: “We are still unhappy about the whole development. The houses are cheap looking. We are concerned about building on land with unidentified mine shafts and the council’s behaviour.”

Mr Watson will consult with local councillors before finalising his decision on the materials used.

Pendle Council leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said: “This has been a difficult application but think this is the best outcome. We have received a government grant towards this scheme.”