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News update

New Developments

Whilst it has been a quieter time for S.W.A.N., meetings have continued. Those stated goals of keeping a watching brief over development in Westhoughton remain the same. We were pleased with the outcome of the LDF (Local Development Framework) consultation in 2010. It was acknowledged by planners that Westhoughton had born the brunt of development over many years, and that it couldn't really cope with much more building without undue pressure on infrastructure, services and quality of life. Since then there has been a period of relative quiet here in Westhoughton. In light of the 'cessation' of building after the 2008 financial meltdown, it could be construed that much of the development was driven by the credit bubble and an element of speculation.

There have been changes to planning strategy which could put pressure on greenbelt, and moves to boost the economy by government through construction. And whilst concentrated in London and the South East, as reported in the media, there has been something of a building boom, aided by Government schemes such as 'Funding For Lending' and 'Help To Buy' - the latter using taxpayers money to underwrite deposits. Since 2008 banks had been more careful and risk averse, seeking bigger deposits on property loans. With house prices surging again commentators are talking of a bubble.

We continue to monitor developments in Westhoughton. It is acknowledged that some development is always necessary as the population grows. In the draft LDF of October 2011 the following Westhoughton sites were allocated for development over the period until 2025 (458 dwellings):

Ref Site Address Size (Ha) Dwellings Land Type
107SC Part Street Part Street 1.67 90 Greenfield
108SC James Street James Street 0.76 31 Brownfield
109SC Land at Leigh Common Collingwood Way 1.19 43 Greenfield
110SC Armor Holdings Factory Bolton Road 2.3 104 Brownfield
111SC Roscoes Farm Bolton Road 3.78 170 Greenfield
112SC Edges Farm Leigh Road 0.56 20 Brownfield
Total 458

The development of Roscoe's Farm - now 99 dwellings - was not unexpected though it may add to traffic problems on Bolton Road, particulalry if the Armour Holdings site (opposite) is developed as allocated. Roscoe's farm is an area of green open land, it also borders Hall Lee Bank Nature Reserve.

A few minor sites have since been added to the revisited plan - Councils were obliged to revisit their LDF plans (now 'Local Plan') in line with the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (Download). All documentation relating to planning policy in Bolton can be found on Bolton Council website

From the Core Strategy Policy (SC1) document: "The council and its partners will (1) Identify a range of housing sites for additional provision of 694 dwellings per annum between 2008 and 2026. (2) At least 80% of housing development will be on previously developed land in accordance with the Regional Spatial Strategy; the Transforming Estates programme will provide up to 20% of housing development on Greenfield land… Outer areas 20-30% of development yield - 2456 dwellings (26.6%) of total yield of 9243 over period… Housing is considered to be an accepted use in the local town centres of Farnworth, Horwich, and Westhoughton through policies RA2, OA1 and OA3 respectively."

Lee Hall

We have recently become aware of consultations by Bolton Council and plans by landowner Peel Holdings to develop 'Protected Open Land' at Lee Hall. This would be a new development, vast in size with new roads onto existing roads (Park Road and Chequerbent), and one that would represent a significant increase in the size of the town.

Report by Emery for Peel Holdings. Additional site allocations. Lee Hall.
Chequerbent Vision Report

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'.


  • S.W.A.N. Committee meeting:
    Tues, 14 Oct
  • 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, 23 Oct (2:00-4:00pm)
    Council Chamber
    Bolton Town Hall

    Minutes/Info of all Council Meetings can be found on the
    Meetings Calendar - look for Committee of interest, date and click on link for info, minutes and decisions.

  • Westhoughton Community Network:
    Wed, 17 Sept
    Wingates Band Hall
    Est. 2011, this independent forum is for local groups providing services and putting on events in Westhoughton.