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The emergence of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) in recent years has, despite its adoption in 2011, superseded the Local Plan; newer planning policy and development target shortfalls have led to successfully appealed planning applications on both Bowlands Hey and Lee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

  • Panto: 'Rapunzel' - Bethel Crowd
    Fri 23, Sat 24* Feb (7:15pm)
    Peace Community Theatre, Rishton Lane, Bolton BL3 2BN
    Always good fun! The Bethel Crowd travel to Bolton to perform their latest Panto. *Extra matinee show Saturday 24 Feb at 2:15pm. Tickets £7.50
  • Daisy Hill Station Improvements
    March to December 2024
    As part of 'Access for All' improvements station will see changes to ticket hall and installation of a lift and toilet, as well as car park changes. £4m project. Some disruption but services continue. Details of Friends of Daisy Hill stage page -
  • History Group
    Monthly meetings - 3rd Thurs (10:30am)
    Westhoughton Library
    After a busy 2023 including the Wingates Band Story exhibition celebrating the brass bands 150th anniversary (Q323), schedule resumes with speakers and special events for this popular heritage group. Next mtg 21/3 st March - Speaker Ruth Duckworth: My Life in Cricket (Part 2)
  • Rotary Christmas Float 2023
    During December Rotary Club of Westhoughton were out and about visiting local estates and will at Sainsbury's ahead of Christmas. As well as Santa and his Rotary Elves bringing Christmas cheer to young and old, it is an important fundraiser; this year £6,249 was raised to be shared out with local community organisations. £5,640 raised and shared in 2022 - Presentation evening 20/4/23; 19 organisations receiving cheques.
  • Hub at Westhoughton
    The Hub at Westhoughton on Central Drive is home to a range of groups and activities serving the community. Information Leaflet.
  • Westhoughton Library
    Library now open for books, general reading and computer access. With current refurbishment complete, community activities on both ground and upper floor have resumed. Info | Community Plans.
  • Robert Shaw / Book of Quint
    Special event with Ryan Dacko, author of 'The Book of Quint' took place at Wetherspoon's 1st July, celebrating Westhoughton-born Robert Shaw and introducing the backstory of the shark hunter from Jaws. It was a great success with people coming far and wide, leading to Amberley publishing deal.
  • WOW! Women of Westhoughton
    Thursdays from 7:00pm
    John Holt Centre (BL5 2NR)
    Est. 2013, women's group for shared interests, talks, outings & social networking. New meeting venue. Updated programme.
  • Daisy Hill FC Fixtures (Home)
    League Division 1 North
    New Sirs (BL5 2EB)
    Cutters season in full flow. New management, new signings and clubhouse improvements. Support your local team. KO Sat 3pm or Mon 7:45pm. £5 adults / £3 concession / £2 U18s / U12s free w/ adult.
  • Lockdown information (Covid-19)
    For 16 months life and community was disrupted by measures to deal with the pandemic. It has been a long and impactful period, thankfully things are opening up again there is a return to normal. Watch for updates as community re-engages here and on
    Westhoughton.net Facebook Page.
  • Town Centre Masterplan
    Proposals for investment in Town Centre (Market Street focus) were consulted upon in 2019-20 with a Steering Group meeting to discuss plans for £4m investment and significant changes to Market Street, Central Park, Carnegie Hall and Town Hall.
  • Hope Community Centre
    The Central Drive church and community space is currently closed pending refurbishment discussions with Bolton Council. Hope Church services take place in the Hub.
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