S.W.A.N. Beginnings

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. Whilst action groups had been formed previously to counter development plans - Westhoughton was seen as an overspill area for Manchester, S.W.A.N. (Save Westhoughton Act Now) came into being due to a massive planned development at Lee Hall (1998). The group formed to successfully rally the community for the Lee Hall Public Enquiry in 1998, and continued to be a group concerned about planning developments in the Westhoughton area.

Acknowledging that building is necessary, S.W.A.N. would provide a voice for Westhoughton residents to make the case that there has to be a balance - development should not only adhere to stated statutory planning policy, be sustainable, 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. The NIMBY tag avoided because objections will be both justified and on planning grounds; some development is both necessary and welcome, and objections should be valid and appropriate.

There have been successes, in particular the establishment of three areas of 'protected open land' around Westhoughton, with S.W.A.N. gaining respect and a good reputation. Residents giving their time to speaking up for the town and being constructive about development in the town. The mission to:

  • Defend areas of Protected Open Land
  • Keep a watching brief over planning issues that affect Westhoughton
    and their impact upon 'Green Spaces', 'Environment', 'Traffic & Infrastructure' and 'Amenities'.

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Related Links

Further information and reading related to main content.

Current Activity

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

Planning Search (Bolton Council) - search by reference number, postcode, ward or single line of an address.

'My Bolton' - searchable 'My Maps'… navigate to desired area, select 'Planning' / 'Applications by year' / click pop-up 'ref' to view planning application.


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.