CGI for Bellway's proposals in Westhoughton. Credit: via planning documents

Bellway wins two more Westhoughton appeals

All five phases of the housebuilder’s nearly 600-home Bowlands Hey project have now been pushed through by the Planning Inspectorate after being refused by Bolton Council.

Set on land by Westhoughton Golf Club and Dobb Brow, Bellway’s plan for a Bowlands Hey neighbourhood has proved contentious since it was first introduced in 2016. Each phase was recommended for approval by Bolton Council planning officers, only to be rejected at committee.

The first phase of the project, comprising 129 homes, was rejected in 2017 by Bolton Council, only to be approved at an appeal later that year.

Bellway’s second phase, consisting of 167 houses, won an appeal in 2020.

Now two appeals have overturned the council’s March 2022 rejections for phases three, four, and five.

Bowlands Hey masterplan layout Bellway p planning

Masterplan for Bowlands Hey, showing the relationship between phases three through five and the already underway phases one and two. Credit: via planning documents

The first of the appeals was for phases three and four, which consist of 119 homes. The second was for the 183-home phase five.

Both schemes had been rejected by Bolton Council because they represented “inappropriate development of ‘other protected open land’” and would harm the character of the landscape.

In the decision on Monday, planning inspector D Hartley acknowledged that both objections had a point, agreeing that the scheme did conflict with the council’s strategy for OPL and would result in “some limited harm to landscape character”.

However, the inspector also noted that Bolton Council had yet to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.

Phases three, four, and five of Bowlands Hey also include plans for 106 affordable homes. This played a large role in the planning inspector’s decision.

Hartley noted that Bolton Council had been unable to meet the annual need for 496 affordable homes and that there was a waiting list of 3,261 households. With this context, Hartley said the project “would make a very significant difference to the lives of people in the area”.

In the appeal conclusion, Hartley wrote that this was a case where the adverse impacts of the project “would be significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the benefits”.

Lichfields is the planning consultant and APD is the architect for phases three, four, and five.

The application for phases three and four has a reference number of 11567/21 with Bolton Council. Phase five’s application number is 11568/21. The appeal reference numbers with the Planning Inspectorate are 3296970 and 3297248 respectively.

Bolton Council and Bellway have been approached for comment.

Your Comments

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What awful looking houses, looks like nothing’s changed in Bellway’s design department since 1985

By GetItBuilt

Are you watching Stockport…..failure to properly address Local Plan leads to planning by appeal coming to a green field near you soon.

By Derek

All that public money wasted having to defend at appeal. The Council should be ashamed….

By Opinion

Very interesting. Where can I see a larger version of phase 3?

By Sue

Boxes, boxes, boxes. What has it come to when today’s new houses are worse than those built 100 years ago?

By Anonymous

Westhoughton is now one massive housing estate, with no increase in doctors, schools, amenities etc.
The increase in traffic is has to be considered.

By Anonymous

Would the inspector pass the application if it was on his doorstep.

By Anonymous

Once all these houses are occupied where are they going to find a doctor, dentist or school for any children they may have in the future, and more to the point, how are they going to get out of westhoughton in the mornings to get to work, it’s already absolute chaos, so what will it be like with all these extra houses, the inspector should be sacked, and as far as bolton council are concerned all westhoughton is is a cash cow for bolton. Fuming.

By Livid

Westhoughton will be a permanent traffic jam it is nearly one already.

By Car driver

Why does the Planning inspector keep on overturning Bolton Councils refusal decisions on plans submitted by Peel in Westhoughton?? (every single one) We have not had a single new Surgery.;School, Dentist etc And You cannot get an appointment with the current one’s for Love nor money! Traffic is Horrendous at Peak times ten fold what it was 20 years ago! Other GM Areas take note!

By Paul D.

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