Little Lever Watson Homes
The former paper mill opened in 1677 but was demolished in 2011

Watson plots waterside homes at Creams Mill

Dan Whelan

Salford-based housebuilder and contractor Watson Homes has opened a consultation on its plans to build almost 300 homes across three plots in Little Lever near Bolton, including the site of the former Creams Mill.

The regeneration of Creams Mill and Hall Lane would include a mixed-tenure development of 297 affordable homes. 

The majority of the homes would be built on two plots close to the River Irwell – the former a paper mill, and a smaller site next to a disused part of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal. 

A third site, located further to the west off Hall Lane, would also take advantage of a section of the disused canal, providing waterside apartments and houses.

Creams Mill opened in 1677 and was demolished in 2011.

Under the proposals, Watson plans to re-integrate the canal into the scheme after it closed in 2004, by providing future residents with access to the water and surrounding woodland. 

The scheme would comprise one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom houses and apartments, as well as private gardens and designated parking areas for residents. 

Watson bought the site earlier in 2020 from a private landowner and has approached housing association partners Great Places Housing Group and Bolton at Home to discuss affordable housing provision for the scheme. 

Little Lever Watson Homes 2

Stockport-based TADW Architect designed the scheme

The developer is working on the project with consultancy P4 Planning and TADW Architects, which designed the homes.

Rob Watson, co-founder and director at Watson Homes, said: “Our priority is always the people who will be benefiting from our builds: the local community. 

“We are holding a public consultation as this ambitious project has the potential to absolutely transform a major part of Little Lever. We want to know what the surrounding  community thinks of our regeneration aims and how we can incorporate their views into our plans.” 

Bolton Council granted planning consent to the previous owner, which had bought the site in 2016 from paper manufacturer Mondi, to build 98 homes on the 26-acre former mill site in November 2017, but that project was never delivered. 

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Great. 297 affordable housing.

By born bred Darren

Yes it is great! – It will mean continuation of work for Construction workers, suppliers, manufacturers etc…. after all this Covid nonsense, the country will need to economically boom, and lets face it Little Lever needs as much investment as it can get.

By Normid Nomad

These swanky houses sorry homes will be far out of reach of most people especially young families with kids. Most of them won’t want or need a front garden or spare bedroom space, won’t want to pay for it and will be so far away from Manchester City centre where all the jobs are they will be forced to spend a fortune on petrol and car ownership not to mention the impact it’ll have on the family life having to spend upwards of 2-3 hours a day commuting during the week then stuck driving to grim retail parks of a weekend.

What we need more of is well located spacious and affordable urban apartments and town houses with aces to green space and local amenities, not expensive cookie-cutter houses in the middle of nowhere.

By Real Daz Salford

What a stupid idea adding more traffic to an already overcrowded main road, with a school and the only route to Radcliffe and Bury. A rise in air pollution is not what the residents of little lever need.

By Margaret Jacqueline Corlett

@Margaret, the answer to air pollution and over-reliance on cars isn’t to not build new homes. It’s also a responsibility of existing residents to drive less.

By Anonymous

Absolute disgrace another green area being taken away. Lovely quiet walks down there and loads of wildlife and of course it won’t look anything like the bloody photos! The flats look like a prison block! Hope each and every resident that backs onto the canal and cares about little lever votes against this. Little lever is called the village by locals for a reason…..let’s keep it that way

By Tracey knibb

Absolute fantasy no way will any kind of boat go on the canal. Also flats look like a prison block and there doesn’t seem to be enough parking for all those houses, considering most homes have at least two cars these days

By Gary Maddox

It’s too much, we value all our green spaces.
It Wii over populate and comprimise the wildlife we have nurtured over the last 30 years. Too much greed!!!! Shame!

By TraceyDawson

I was brought up in Little Lever and have very fond childhood memories. The ‘village’ isn’t what it used to be just like most places. I think these proposed development plans are exactly what is needed and will completely rejuvenate my childhood home.

By Chris Sharples

This development is totally inappropriate. It will mean the loss of more green spaces, adding more congestion and pollution to our local streets and roads, which at busy times are already overstretched, and putting more strain on local schools, doctor’s surgeries etc. Please preserve our green spaces.

By Colin Barlow

These spaces are full of wildlife, specifically deer, heron, woodpeckers etc. Currently these green spaces are enjoyed by people from near and afar for walking, cycling, dog walking and jogging. The last thing the village needs is more traffic and less green space. Talk of repair to the canal breach is highly dubious as the collapse was caused by old mine shafts giving way and any repairs will be too expensive and extensive for the developer to take on once they have started building this will be quietly swept under the carpet. A far more viable location for building would be at the ladyshore reserve where a road could be brought in from the opposite side , possibly linked to the M60. Without totally gridlocking both Hall Lane and Mytham road both of which have schools built on them.

By Nicola Pelling