Westhoughton Community Network

group for and run by community groups in Westhoughton

S.W.A.N. (Save Westhoughton Act Now)

S.W.A.N.'s mission to defend areas of protected open land and to keep a watching brief over planning issues that affect Westhoughton.

About Us

Formed in 1998 by local residents as a campaign group to stop the building of 1100 homes and industrial estate on green land at Lee Hall, still meeting regularly, 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.

It is a group concerned about planning developments in the Westhoughton area, and keep a watching brief over planning issues that affect the area; and thus their impact upon 'Green Spaces', 'Environment', 'Traffic & Infrastructure' and 'Amenities'.

It has a popular website giving information about planning and related issues affecting Westhoughton

S.W.A.N.'s expertise and input has fed into local planning policy. Three key areas had been given 'Protected Open Land' status in statutory planning documents (UDP and LDF), and in the recent Local Plan consultation, over-development and pressure on infrastructure and services has been acknowledged by Bolton Council Planners and Planning Inspector.

Protected Open Land around WesthoughtonProtected Open Land

Three key areas of green space are were designated 'Protected Open Land' (POL) meaning development is 'less likely' and the town's independent character is maintained.

  • Lee Hall
  • Bowlands Hey
  • Ditchers Farm

Following a Planning Appeal decision on a Blackrod site citing a shortfall of building completions in Bolton as per the '5-year Supply Requirement' there is now some doubt the status of POL sites.

The emergence of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) in recent years has, despite its adoption in 2011, superseded the Local Plan; newer planning policy and development target shortfalls have led to successfully appealed planning applications on both Bowlands Hey and Lee Hall.

Current Issues

  • The demise of the Bolton Local Plan (formerly Local Development Framework [LDF]).
  • New National Planning Policy Framework to presume in favour of 'sustainable development' to increase house-building.
  • Population growth – recent report suggests Bolton's population will grow by 20% by 2035.
  • Possible Lee Hall development. Not part of 2011-2026 'Local Plan', there have been submissions by developers as part of a review consultation for development of this significant area of land buffering Westhoughton and Atherton. (Similar proposals submitted for Ditcher's Farm and Bowlands Hey*.) Although a review by the Planning Inspector declared the Local Plan 'sound', with no major revision to allocated sites and key areas of 'protected open land' keeping that status, in late July Persimmon have put forward plans for a 300-dwelling development (94696/15) on land north of Platt Lane up to Chequerbent. There is strong opposition locally voiced during the consultation period. The application was unanimously rejected at the Bolton Council Planning Committee meeting 22/10/15. Persimmon and Peel Holdings initiated an Appeal against this refusal, the application reviewed by the Planning Inspector and approved (19 Dec 2017). Further development of Lee Hall is likely since its inclusion in GMSF.
    Protected Open Land at Bowlands Hey saw planning application for 129-dwellings. Initially refused in late 2016, it has since been approved by a Planning Inspector and will go ahead.
  • Greater Manchester Spatial Strategy (to 2035) - Devolution will mean planning comes under the control of the new 10-Council Greater Manchester Authority - a key priority is to increase house-building to boost the economy ('Northern Powerhouse'). What will this mean for Bolton and Westhoughton?
    Proposed sites have been submitted - submitted sites for consideration [use zoom, and layers]. Note, incursions into Protected Open Land and Green Belt.
    20/10/16 saw the release of the consultation with GM-wide plans for 277,200 dwellings, including large Bolton sites at Lee Hall/Hulton Park, Bowlands Hey and near Gibfield (4,500 dwellings in total).
    GMSF Consultation First Draft - closed 16/1/17. Feedback and concern mainly over loss of green belt land will see a revised draft produced in 2018.

Exhibition on Planning & Development at Westhoughton Library

Westhoughton Under Siege - Planning Exhibition by Westhoughton Local History Group (Library late 2015)Entitled 'Westhoughton and the Threat of Siege', this late 2015 exhibition at Westhoughton Library, and put on by Westhoughton Local History Group, told the story of the growth and development of Westhoughton from the days of the 'Manchester and Salford Overspill' to now.

A comprehensive collection of information, maps and photos covering the last half-century as Westhoughton has grown, doubling in size. The plan, the battles, the campaigns and the emergence of S.W.A.N. (Save Westhoughton Act Now) as a pressure group focusing on the planning issues affecting the town.

S.W.A.N. (Save Westhoughton Act Now) website link Contact Information

For further details visit the S.W.A.N. website

Social Media: S.W.A.N. Facebook groupS.W.A.N. Facebook Group | S.W.A.N. on Twitter@SWAN_online.

 

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Useful Links

Community Events

  • Social Distancing (Covid-19)
    In light of arrival of virus and advice given by Govt, all WCN groups and community organisations are having to suspend meetings and activities for time-being. End of year Civic Events such as Poppy Appeal / Remembrance Sunday (8 Nov); Schools Carols Services/Christmas Lights (27 Nov); Pretoria Remembrance (21 Dec) and Rotary Santa Float fundraising tours (7-19 Dec) cancelled or impacted. Programmes continue to be hit. Other news and updates on our
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.
  • Civic Awards
    Recipients of Westhoughton Town Council Civic Awards 2020 for service to the local community 2021 are David Kaye and Linda Winrow, who will also share the Harold Daniels Trophy. Presentation evening 2020 (25/1/20)
  • Rotary Club of Westhoughton
    In an unusual year with no Christmas Santa Float Tours possible due to Covid, Rotarians are pleased to report donations of £6,772 via 'Just Giving' for 2020 - grateful for public and business support. Money raised will help support local charities. Active on Facebook, they are using Zoom for 3rd Thursday Speaker events (open to all).
  • Westhoughton Library
    Did you know as well as books, computers and newspapers, your local Library provides Bolton Council One-Stop Shop services and is a base for many community groups and special events!
    Library currently closed. Community meetings and activities suspended.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    After Covid-19 resulting in termination of a decent season for 'The Cutters' in 2019/20, a delayed new season had begun with measures in place to keep everyone safe, though now suspended again.
    WCN has been providing community news and features for home game programmes.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market street focus) reaches public consultation stage. Drop-ins at Library took place on 12 & 15 Feb. Closing date for feedback 23/3/20. Significant investment and changes proposed inc. Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. Final meeting conducted via Microsoft Teams (18/8). Revised plan now approved.
  • St. James Church (Daisy Hill)
    Heritage Lottery funded restoration work on the bell tower completed. Now off the 'at risk' register. Fascinating short about the project.
    1st Sat of mth (10-12) open for Grub Tub donations.
  • Bolton College Survey
    Adult Learning Provision in Westhoughton
    Wigan & Leigh College have a number of FREE online courses available aimed at wellbeing/public sectors to teach about mental health, leadership and social care. Adults >24, or 19-23 (see conditions).

    Prior to Lockdown Bolton Council and Bolton College consulting with WCN and other partners to reintroduce Adult Learning Provision to Westhoughton.
  • Tribute to Tony
    Tony Berry Tribute Concert at St. Bart's 22 Nov 19 - . £2,716 raised; shared between Cancer Research and St. Bart's Tower Fund. A bench in his honour at Ditchfield Gardens unveiled on 27 Sept 2019.
  • Hope Community Centre
    Central Drive
    Programme. Group activities and events; available for hire for community groups - also parties. 'Grub tub' available for Foodbank donations - 9:30am to 3pm on Mondays. Centre currently closed.
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