Bolton Council has submitted its Core Strategy document to the government for examination.
The council said that the document sets out the future for planning in the borough up to 2026, with a series of policies on key issues such as housing, employment, retail and transport development.
Bolton Council added that the government will now arrange for an independent examination of the plan by an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate, which will include a public hearing.
Cllr John Byrne, Bolton Council's executive member for development and regeneration, said: "We're the first in Greater Manchester and one of the first in the North West to have got to this stage, which is excellent news. We've carried out extensive consultation over the last four years and we have written to everyone who has formally commented on the Core Strategy to let them know it has been submitted. The public can now inspect the document, which has been revised following their feedback. Once the inspector has examined the plan, they will make recommendations that the council must follow before it finally approves it."
The council said it has made a number of changes to the Core Strategy following public consultation. The document now allocates 348 acres to 396 acres for employment use whereas previously it was 420 acres to 468 acres. The council said this change has arisen as it "resolved to reduce the amount of green belt required for industrial development on the Cutacre site by almost two thirds".
Harworth Estates, the property arm of UK Coal, is currently working with Bolton Council to promote the Cutacre site through the Local Development Framework process.
The plan also recognises the importance of the Horwich Loco Works site and the need for a supplementary planning document to guide the development of the site.
Landowner Bluemantle and developer Orbit appointed a design team led by HOW Planning at the start of the month to produce plans for the former 180-acre Horwich Loco Works in Bolton.
The Bluemantle and Orbit joint venture, known as Horwich Vision, plans a major residential and employment development with potential for up to 1,600 new homes, offices and other employment opportunities on the site. There will also be public open space and supporting infrastructure, including a new link road, if the project is completed.
The Core Strategy is available to view at local libraries, and the One Stop Shop in Bolton Town Hall.