Land Allocations - Westhoughton

After the building boom of previous years, the 2008 'credit crunch' and subsequent economic turmoil marked a quieter time for development in Westhoughton. During this period planners were charged with making strategic plans and land allocations for future years - The 'Local Development Framework' (LDF), which later become the 'Local Plan'.

S.W.A.N. took part in the 2010 LDF consultations, and were satisfied with the outcome - key areas of 'Protected Open Land' maintained, and the acknowledgement by planners that Westhoughton had been developed beyond sustainability. The Planning Inspector himself stating that "development in the town has outstripped the infrastructure upon which it relies". Westhoughton had borne 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.

However, land for building must be allocated for a growing population. The table below lists the sites which were allocated as part of the 'Local Plan'. With a change of government in 2010 and planning policy leading to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (Download), it was necessary for local authorities to re-assess and revisit their plans in light of the new guidance. This was an opportunity for developers to come forward with new proposals, whilst claiming that not enough houses were being built. The review was completed in 2014 and the 'Allocations Plan' approved by the Planning Inspector; the'Local Plan' adopted by Bolton Council (3/12/14). In the draft LDF of October 2011 the following Westhoughton sites were allocated for development over the period until 2026 (458 dwellings). The 2014 review confirmed a provision for 453 dwellings in Westhoughton.


Ref Site Address Size (Ha) Dwellings Land Type
76SC Part Street - 1.67 90 Greenfield
77SC James Street - 0.76 31 Brownfield
78SC Land at Leigh Common Collingwood Way 1.19 43 Greenfield
79SC Armor Holdings Factory Bolton Road 2.30 104 Brownfield
80SC Roscoes Farm Bolton Road 3.78 170 Greenfield
81SC Edges Farm Leigh Road 0.56 15 (20) Brownfield
Total 453

A minor site at Crows Nest was added to the revisited plan (8 dwellings) but was removed.

The 106-dwelling development of Roscoe's Farm - an area of green open land once used for grazing that borders Hall Lee Bank Nature Reserve - was not unexpected; passed in August 2015, the Section 106 agreement is now signed off and work can proceed. Its impact on traffic problems on Bolton Road, particularly if the Armor Holdings site (opposite) is developed as allocated to be assessed.

There is a preference to develop on brownfield sites (previously developed land), in doing so saving and protecting greenfield sites. Should windfall sites come up on brownfield land these are likely to be viewed favourably and will generally get planning permission. These should be taken into account when planners make future land allocations. Windfall sites will have an impact on local infrastructure and services.

As is normal, there is an expectation that 'windfall' sites on formerly developed land (brownfield) may become available and be used for additional development (housing, retail, employment). There are currently a number of such sites in Westhoughton. Additionally, a number of sites have had permission for development but are currently being used for other purposes; as such these 'forgotten' sites may come up again.

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 [across the borough] 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."

Examples of brownfield sites are closed down pubs that have been demolished or converted, and sites that have become derelict when previous industry has ceased.

  • Red Lion Pubic House, Wigan Road - Woodlands Dementia Home and Sheltered Accommodation.
  • Glebe Mill, Library Street - Aldi Superstore
  • The Daisy Hill Tavern - converted into flats.
  • Gaiety Snooker Hall, Market Street - planning permission for 20 houses (withdrawn).
  • Commercial Pubic House, Church Street - converted into a supermarket (change of use).
  • Car Park (adjacent café), Wigan Road - building of 7 apartments.

All documentation relating to planning policy in Bolton can be found on Bolton Council website.

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Current Activity

Development sites up for planning approval or approved. Westhoughton Current Sites.

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Westhoughton Town Council - info
Meetings take place fortnightly, Monday evenings currently held at Library. Planning matters usually discussed on a monthly basis.
Upcoming: 9 March (7pm) [Planning]

Bolton Council Planning Committee - info
Thurs, 2 April (2-6pm)
Thurs, 23 April (2-6pm)
Council Chamber
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.