Plans for a major housing development next to the site of a former chemical plant have been given the go-ahead.

The scheme put forward by Gleeson Homes will see 40 new houses built next to the demolished Marchon site and the Waters Edge development at Kells, in Whitehaven.

Members of Copeland Council's planning panel voted unanimously in favour of the scheme at a meeting held on Wednesday.

A total of 12 objections had been received from members of the public and councillors had raised concerns over limited school places and the surrounding infrastructure.

But the planning panel were told that no education contribution was required by Cumbria County Council from the developer.

Speaking at the meeting, David Wright of Gleeson Homes told the panel that the development was aimed largely at first-time buyers, with the hope of getting more people on the property ladder.

He said the scheme would also create 42 jobs.

When asked by councillor Graham Calvin about the issue of contaminated land, Mr Wright said: "Brownfield land is our bread and butter. It's what we want to be building homes on.

"We did an intrusive ground investigation and we've been drilling down to make sure the rock is stable from the coal-mining that went on, not too far away.

"It's not as bad as you would expect. It's part of the Marchon complex but this area was predominately a car park. We've presumed there won't be anything too nasty down below.

"The Environment Agency are satisfied that we have done everything required."

Councillor Michael McVeigh said he was pleased that Gleeson Homes had helped young people get on the housing ladder at the Florence Drive development in Egremont.

Mr Wright said: "Most people chase after executive housing which is needed but there is also a gap for people to get on the housing ladder. That's our main target. We won't be looking to sell the houses at £300-£350,000. Even the four-bed houses will be affordable."

The development will be made up of five two-bedroom, 26 three-bedroom and nine four-bedroom houses. Four affordable homes will be included.

Access will be from a newly created priority junction from High Road. Off-road parking spaces are proposed for each property.

Marchon opened in 1943 and manufactured the raw materials for washing powders and toiletries for decades.

It was taken over by Rhodia in the late 1990s, but closed in 2005 and was demolished in 2012.