MORE than 70 horses will need to be rehomed after controversial plans to convert a Winwick farm into housing were approved.

Delph Farm Estates’ application to turn Delph Farm, on Delph Lane, into 17 homes, as well as the construction of a further two on the land, came before the development management committee on Wednesday.

A number of buildings will be demolished as part of the scheme.

More than 60 objections were submitted to the council over the plans for the green belt site.

Residents were worried over traffic, as well as the impact on the horses, swallows, bats and barn owls at the site.

Deputy council leader Cllr Cathy Mitchell (LAB – Burtonwood and Winwick) urged the committee to reject the application.

Cllr Mitchell, who was also speaking on behalf of fellow ward councillor Terry O’Neill, said the key objection was over how much extra traffic will be generated.

“We also have grave concerns about wildlife who use the barn, birds and bats, there does need to be appropriate mitigation for any animals which rely on the barn as their home,” she said.

“And last, but certainly not least, where will the horses go?”

She told members she understands the site is home to more than 70 horses.

Application agent Berrys believes the proposed development is a well-designed scheme which will help meet Warrington’s urgent need for housing.

The committee was told the conversion will provide a range of housing, with six properties to be affordable.

Furthermore, members were informed the livery has been ‘uneconomic for some time’ and ‘unable to fund’ the maintenance of the historic buildings.

They were also told the closure presents an opportunity that other liveries in the area ‘may benefit from’ and that it will not ‘close overnight’.

The application was approved, subject to conditions.