Bolton protects green belt from housing in regional plan

7 Jan 2019 06:37

Council chiefs have not allocated any housing sites on the green belt in Bolton in the latest draft spatial framework plan.

Greater Manchester’s vision for homes, jobs and the environment from 2018 to 2037 has now been published.

And locally, Bolton Council leaders have protected the green belt and removed proposed green belt sites for housing – the only council in the region to do so.

The authority is also proposing to reclassify two new sites as green belt land – Horwich Golf Course and Ditchers Farm in Westhoughton.

This will give additional protection to prevent unwanted housing development.

The original plan proposed building 16,800 new homes contributing to a Greater Manchester figure of 227K houses.

The target regionally has reduced to 201K and Bolton is now proposing 13,940 new homes solely on urban sites.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, said: “A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes for us to get to this stage with the plan.

“We have listened to the responses and concerns raised locally and we are doing everything we can to protect the green belt, which we know is really important for our residents.

“This plan will not touch the green belt for housing in our town. In fact, some sites will now be put into green belt to protect them from unwanted development.

“Urban and brownfield sites are our focus and we are already working with our partners to deliver new much needed homes.

“Our £1 billion masterplan is leading the way on this, with our injection as a council of £100M acting as the catalyst.”

New housing originally proposed at green belt sites in North Bolton and Hulton Park, and on protected open land at Bowlands Hey and Lee Hall have been removed.

And Bolton is still on track to meet its housing targets from brownfield and urban sites.

Executive Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Martin Donaghy, described the revised proposals as “good news for our town”.

He said: “Making sure our residents have a choice of good quality housing is vital and we need to make sure we have the right mix of homes across Bolton.

“But we know that communities were concerned about the amount of green belt land allocated for housing.

“We have worked really hard to get to this stage - where our target can be delivered using urban sites alone and I’m sure that many people will be pleased about this.”

The town will also contribute 830,000 sq m of industrial and warehousing floorspace towards the region’s 4.82 million sq m target.

Around half of Bolton’s allocation for this is set to be in the urban area while others are on strategic sites with important transport links.

Cllr Donaghy added: “A healthy economy is vital for our town to create new jobs for our residents. We know developers require land of a certain type and size and we have done everything we can to minimise using green belt sites.

“Even with the proposed new employment sites overall there would be a very small reduction - only 1.97 per cent - in the total area of green belt in Bolton.”

The previous draft plan would have seen Bolton lose 5.3 per cent of its green belt land.

Subject to approval at a special Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting on January 11th, an eight-week public consultation will start on January 21st.

Two consultation drop-in events will be held in Bolton where people can view the documents and find out more information.

The first event will be held at Carnegie Hall, Westhoughton Town Hall, Library Street, BL5 3AW on February 25th (2pm to 7pm).

Another drop-in will take place at Friends’ Meeting House, 50 Silverwell Street on March 6th (2pm to 7pm). 

People can view the plan and all the supporting documents at

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