PLANS to build a ‘villa style’ house that residents claim will prove “severely detrimental” to their homes has been approved.

On Tuesday St Helens Council’s planning committee heard plans to build two dwellings in the rear garden following the demolition of outbuildings within 14 Central Avenue in Eccleston Park.

Committee members heard that the council has received 12 objections from members of the public to the original and amended application .

Eccleston Parish Council also opposed to the green field site plans, which is considered backland development.

The original plans have been amended by the applicant to address some of the loss of amenity concerns from residents of ‘The Woodlands’, ‘Forest Grove’ and ‘The Paddocks’ housing developments.

The applicant, Len Gowing, said he and his wife Sharon Gowing had listened to concerns and amended the plans accordingly.

Mr Gowing said: “This application followed a positive, pre-planning application.

“And following submissions of the applicant amendment were made as required by your planning officers who are now fully satisfied with the proposals.

“No objections raised relate to Highways, ecology or from protection of trees.”

In the amended plans, the distance from the front of the new houses to the backs of the houses on The Woodlands is approximately 21 metres.

This is generally acknowledged to be a reasonable distance, although some guidance advises it should be 23 metres, where properties are back to back.

Despite this, a report from planning officers found this to be “satisfactory” from a residential amenity point of view.

Speaking at the meeting, Linda Crellin, said residents do not accept the report’s conclusion that amenity concerns have been addressed.

Ms Crellin said: “We feel a failure to comply with guideline distances and the sighting of building so close to the boundary on an elevated site will cause direct overlooking, a loss of privacy and an overbearing effect, which would be severely detrimental to the amenity of our homes.”

The application had previously been deferred by the planning committee at its last meeting in December to allow members to undertake a site visit.

Eccleston and Liberal Democrat councillor Geoff Pearl previously opposed the application, but said the site visit, which took place on Tuesday, showed there were no grounds to refuse the application.

St Helens Conservative leader and Rainford councillor Allan Jones also found the site visit useful, adding that the scheme was a “worthwhile project”.

Planning officers recommended that planning permission be granted subject to conditions, including restrictions to the hours of working during the construction phase.

The application was unanimously approved by councillors.