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News update

S.W.A.N. looking for new members

S.W.A.N. is currently in the process of freshening up its committee and membership with reviews of its committee and constitution. Stated goals likely to remain the same, however after the success of the LDF consultation and a period of relative quiet here in Westhoughton, there could be impacts from the governments changes to planning strategy, with pressure on greenbelt. Notwithstanding the uncertain economic situation, we are monitoring developments. In light of the 'cessation' of building in 2008, it could be construed that much of the development was driven by the credit bubble and an element of speculation.


House Extensions - Planning Consultation for revised supplementary planning document

Bolton Council has published a new document about house extensions for consultation purposes. Having already approved a policy for built development within policy CG3 of its 'Core Strategy' (adopted 2011), the long term plan for the whole of the Borough. Aimed at homeowners, applicants and their agents, neighbours and other members of the public, the supplementary planning document provides general advice on planning for those house extensions which require planning permission. Specific details include:

  • General design and materials
  • Heritage considerations
  • Impact on neighbouring properties and the street scene

A copy of the document can be found at: Choose Planning guidance - house extensions (guidance note for consultation) (Bolton Council)
The timescale for representations is over a 4 week period from 3rd July 2012 to 31st July 2012. Contact via post or e-mail. Phone enquries to 01204 336000.


S.W.A.N. and the local election campaign

During the run-up to the recent local election S.W.A.N. has twice been referred to in Labour Party election leaflets for the Westhoughton South candidate standing in the May 3rd local elections. This has caused considerable consternation within the group given that we were not approached for use of the name; the claim of an implied involvement with S.W.A.N. is not true; and S.W.A.N. being a broad church and apolitical group would not wish to be associated with any political party.

We have written to the local Labour party who have since replied, retracted the statement and apologised (view letters), however, given that the leaflets have been distributed to 100s of homes in Westhoughton, we feel we have to make this publicly clear. It is unfortunate that the candidate and party have done this; it is a surprise that this could have even been allowed to happen.

S.W.A.N. wishes to make it clear that it has no association with any political party nor does it endorse any particular party. The group's new constitution implicitly addresses the issue of political neutrality. Planning issues have long been of concern to people of Westhoughton and it is important that if and when we have to deal with politicians and council officers that we are not seen to be or perceived as being partisan.

Update: we are pleased to say that in their latest election leaflet the 'error' has been corrected and we are grateful for this prompt and public action.


Westhoughton Landmark Red Lion closed with development proposal for nursing home.

After difficult times in the pub trade the Red Lion closed its doors in January, and now the site in up for development for a 52-bed care home with the pub building, it being in a conservation area, retained and converted into admin and training facilities. Story (Bolton News).

The Red Lion has over the years played an important role in the social life of Westhoughton and has contributed to the community as a meeting venue and local resource; so it is sad to see it go. Pubs and social clubs have struggled over recent years, and are often located on prime sites with development potential. The 'new' care home could well be joined by a similar but more ambitious development at Glebe Mill, Library Street, though this scheme has been 'withdrawn.'

As of July 2012, the pub remains boarded up with no indication of activity for this site.


Westhoughton Market Going From Strength To Strength.

Once with an uncertain future, and in 2007 threatened with an 18-month closure for redevelopment following moves by Bolton Council and a resultant planning application for apartments, thanks to the efforts of traders, management and local support (and an issue over public toilets), Westhoughton Market is reaping the rewards of investment and endeavour, and has recently been crowned 'Best Small Indoor Market' by the National Association of British Market Authorities. Now open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the now full and diverse main hall, and complimented by additional markets in the back hall on the first two Saturdays of the month (Farmers Market and Car Boot repectively). A number of successful themed events with a community connection have taken place to further raise the profile and draw in new custom, putting the market at the heart of the town centre. Westhoughton Market website


Boundary Commission for England - Initial proposals for the North West region

In a move that could give the people of Westhoughton a little more political influence, the ongoing review of electoral boundaries has some interesting proposals for Westhoughton.

[From report]
69. Our proposed constituency of Bolton North combines wards to the north and west of the town of Bolton (which are currently included in the Bolton North East constituency) with the town of Horwich and the surrounding area (currently in the Bolton West constituency). Our proposed Bolton South constituency includes all seven wards that are currently located in the Bolton South East constituency along with the ward of Breightmet, currently located in the Bolton North East constituency.

70. Our proposed Westhoughton constituency combines the towns of Westhoughton, Hindley and Atherton with part of Leigh. We propose no change to the existing Wigan constituency.

71. With the transfer of Hindley to our proposed Westhoughton constituency, our proposed Makerfield constituency extends south east to incorporate Golborne. Our proposed Leigh constituency includes the towns of Irlam and Walkden with much of the town of Leigh. The remaining wards that are currently located in the Worsley and Eccles South constituency are combined with the town of Swinton in our proposed Swinton constituency.

Full report here (PDF)

Official Site: Boundary Commission Proposals (North West). The consultation period is between 6 March 2012 and 3 April 2012, with final recommendations by 1 October 2013.


S.W.A.N. pleased with outcome of the LDF Consultation

S.W.A.N. are pleased to report that following our contribution and involvement in the LDF Consultation and Inspection over previous months, noting that we were the only representatives of residents at the enquiry relating to Westhoughton, the Inspector upheld the original proposals outlined in the Core Strategy document, which effectively gives some relief and protection to Westhoughton from inappropriate and unnecessary development. This was adopted in March 2011, and is a statutory policy, which makes it difficult to change or modify. More


Peel Holdings / Hulton Park

It has come to our attention that suggestions have been made that 1000s of houses may be built on greenbelt land recently acquired by Peel Holdings at The Houlton Park Estate. Existing national planning guidelines state that certain types of development, like housing, can only be given permission in exceptional circumstances. Housing is usually considered to be inappropriate development on greenbelt land and therefore planning permission is normally refused.

In light of the LDF consultation and its recent adoption, it is highly unlikely that the Bolton Council Planning would not object strongly and approval subsequently refused. To our knowledge Peel Holdings have not put forward any proposal for housing developments, indeed the only rumours have been regarding a possible Race Course or Center Parks type development. S.W.A.N. will naturally be monitoring any developments with this.

A reader writes to supply some information concerning Peel Holdings ambitions for Hulton Park and proposed planning changes and motorway access for business parks. More (Telegraph)… A situation that we will be monitoring.


S.W.A.N. is a group concerned about planning developments in the Westhoughton area.

Due to its location, the availability of land and the ease of getting applications approved, Westhoughton has been favoured area for developers and has borne the brunt of house building within the borough, doubling in size over recent decades.

Such development has changed the character of the town and has impacted on the area in terms of infrastructure and quality of life. There has to be a balance, and development should not only adhere to stated statutory planning policy, but should fit with the needs and desires of the local community.

Formed by local residents, S.W.A.N. has developed expertise in planning law and has sought to represent residents, influence debate and policy, and where necessary oppose inappropriate development.

There have been successes, in particular the establishment of three areas of 'protected open land' around Westhoughton, however, in spite of the lull brought about by the recent recession, we remain vigilant, our mission to: To defend areas of protected open land, and to keep a watching brief over planning issues that affect Westhoughton – and thus its impact upon 'Green Spaces', 'Environment', 'Traffic & Infrastructure' and 'Amenities'.

Events

  • S.W.A.N. Committee meeting:
    Tues, 25 March
  • Westhoughton Town Council:
    Town Council meetings covering general admin and planning take place on certain Monday evenings, details of which can be found at
  • Bolton Council
    Planning Committee
    :
    Thurs, 3 Apr (2:00-4:00pm)
    Council Chamber
    Bolton Town Hall.
    More...
  • Westhoughton Community Network:
    Wed, 14 May
    Wingates Band Hall
    Est. 2011, this independent forum is for local groups providing services and putting on events in Westhoughton.
    Info...