PLANS to build 22 affordable homes in a Wirral community last year devastated by a huge explosion have been met with opposition from local residents.

The proposals would see five family houses and 17 apartments erected close to the River Mersey in New Ferry, with developers Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) aiming to “breathe new life” into the Wirral town.

The homes would be located on the land adjacent to The Esplanade, with some enjoying “wonderful views” across the Mersey.

But local councillor for Bromborough, Warren Ward, said the plans are subject to opposition from dozens of residents as they would mean a loss of privacy for people living nearby.

He explained: “We need to attract the right kind of development in this community.

"New Ferry has a need for affordable housing – our residents deserve high-quality housing and a decent standard of living and the application in its current form does not reflect this.

“New Ferry is well known for its water-front properties, most of which date back to the early 1800s when properties were built for sailors and sea captains.

“Yes, our community needs to move forward but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our roots, our history.

“The proposed development is not in keeping with the surrounding properties and it will also affect existing residents in terms of their privacy.”

The news comes a year after a gas blast tore through New Ferry town centre, leaving two people severely injured, with around 30 others described as “walking wounded”.

A discount furniture store and dance studio at the same address were destroyed.

According to planning documents submitted by developer LMH to Wirral council, the land earmarked for the homes, which is around half a mile from where the explosion happened, used to be part of the garden of one of the adjacent houses, but has “never been built on”.

The homes will all be “affordable” – a move in response to “a significant need and demand for new affordable housing within the area”.

The apartments will be a mixture of one and two-bedroom and split over two blocks. All buildings will fit into the “traditional” theme, using materials such as brickwork and render.

LMH, which has submitted a full planning application, also said the blocks will be built in such a way “to minimise the impact or overlooking on the surrounding properties”.

In its planning documents, the developer added: “The development team believes that the designs produced for this site have been informed by local policy but, and more importantly will breathe life into a site requiring investment and regeneration.

"Beyond the obvious benefits, the proposals seek to create much-needed housing for people currently wishing to live in the area in a new, affordable home.

“This will help to provide a greater mix of residents and tenure within the town fully in accordance with the principles set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

“From the start, the aim has been to improve on the previous application whilst not fundamentally altering the principles which enabled the schemes to be approved in the first case.

"Through pre-application consultation with Wirral Council, we remain confident that this has been achieved and finds favour with the Local Planning Authority.”

Cllr Ward said he was not against developing the land because more housing was needed, but that “in its current form”, he could not support the application.

He added: “I have formally instructed officers under the scheme of delegation for planning applications for the application to be removed from delegated powers and to put forward to the planning committee for consideration.

“I want to make it clear to local residents that New Ferry is not a free-for-all and that we want the right type of developments in our community and that this is something myself and my ward colleagues are very passionate about.

“I also want to reach out to the developer to state that I would welcome a meeting to discuss the application further with residents from the surrounding area to get the best deal for local people.”

Responding, a spokesman for Liverpool Mutual Homes said: “LMH is looking to bring forward a high-quality residential development of this site.