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 have been given 'Protected Open Land' status in statutory planning documents (UDP and LDF), and in the recent LDF 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.

Future Issues

  • Implementation of Local Plan (formerly Local Development Framework [LDF]) in Westhoughton.
  • 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' (formerly LDF), 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. Update: Persimmon and Peel Holdings have initiated an appeal against this refusal, with a hearing/review now in April 2017.
    *129-dwelling application on protected open land at Bowlands Hey was refused in late 2016, that too will now be the subject of an Appeal before the Planning Inspector.
  • New National Planning Policy Framework to presume in favour of 'sustainable development' to increase house-building.
  • 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 expected April/May.

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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Participating Groups

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Music

Useful Links

Community Events

  • Wingates Band - Concert & News
    Sat 21 Oct (7:30pm)
    St. Bart's Church - 'Best of British'
    One of Top 30 Brass Bands in World, Wingates Band return to Westhoughton for a Last Night of the Proms Concert. Tkts £8 (2 for £15); U16 Free. Flyer.
    News and information about the brass band and upcoming 2017 concerts - info.
  • History Group Exhibition
    23 Sept - 31 Oct
    Westhoughton Library (upstairs)
    New exhibition: 'Aspects of Howfen' profiles the many facets of the Westhoughton's rich industrial, social, cultural, educational and sporting history. Free. New historic timeline unveiled.
  • Friends of Westhoughton Station
    Now meet every Sunday from 10am
    Volunteer group cleaning up and improving Westhoughton Station for local commuters. Excellent progress. All welcome.
    More...
    . Finalists 'Community Rail Awards' 2015. Town Council 'Certificate of Achievement'. Recent clean-up
  • Hope Community Centre
    Central Drive
    Updated 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.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:30pm
    Hope Centre (Central Drive) BL5 3DS
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. Updated programme.
    More...
  • George Formby Society
    Wed 25 Oct (from 7:30pm)
    Mercury Bolton, Manchester Road (BL5 3JP)
    Free. Fans of George Formby and the ukulele gather to talk, play and be entertained. Last Wed every month.
  • Westhoughton Poetry Group
    Thurs 26 Oct (from 2pm)
    Bolton Library (for NPD)
    Get poetic - budding Wordsworth or Pam Ayres? - monthly mtg of creative writing group. Newcomers welcome. Contribute or just listen. Free.
  • Community Police
    Informal, confidential drop-ins held by Pcsos, chance to discuss local issues, seek advice on security & crime prevention.
    Info.
    WH Market: Thurs
    John Holt Centre: Tues
Westhoughton Community Network @wcn_ on Twitter