Creams Mill Watson p.Rumpus

CGI showing Watson Homes' plans for the Creams Mill site. Credit: SquareCGI

Watson prevails at Creams Mill appeal 

Bolton Council refused the developer’s 255-home scheme in Little Lever due to its position in the Green Belt but the Planning Inspectorate has overturned that decision. 

In summing up, inspector Nick Palmer said the benefits of Watson’s scheme, particularly in relation to its 61% provision of affordable housing, “clearly outweigh” the identified harms to the Green Belt and “amount to the very special circumstances needed to justify the development.” 

  • To read the full decision notice search for reference number APP/N4205/W/22/3301093 on the PINS website.

“We are delighted to see the approval of our planning appeal for the regeneration of Creams Mill and Hall Lane,” said Rob Watson, director at Watson. 

“The Inspector agreed that there is a desperate need for new housing in Bolton and this development will play a significant role in the delivery of both affordable and market housing. “ 

In December 2021, the council’s planning committee voted unanimously to reject the scheme, which is split across the former Creams Mill site off Mytham Road and another plot around a mile away off Hall Lane. 

At the time, Bolton Council argued the 31-acre development, which also features proposals to restore a 700-metre section of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, had to be refused “for the benefit of the town, the planet and future generations.” 

Designed by TADW Architects, the homes will incorporate renewable energy technology, including air-source heat pumps, to lower the cost of hot water and energy, according to Watson. 

The properties comprise a mix of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom houses and apartments. 

Of these 154 homes will be available on affordable tenures. Watson is working with housing association partners to deliver the affordable housing across the development. 

P4 Planning advised Watson on the application and appeal. 

“There is a national housing crisis and an even more acute need for affordable homes,” said Gillian Worden, director P4 Planning. 

“Local housebuilders have an important role to play in tackling this and increasing housing supply. This development will help address Bolton’s significant overall housing shortfall and realise a long-term dream of restoring the canal and seeing it back in use, helping to justify development in the Green Belt.” 

The project team for Watson’s Creams Mill redevelopment includes:  

  • P4 Planning – planning and EIA consultant 
  • Rumpus – public consultation & SOCI 
  • TADW – architect 
  • Enzygo – landscape architect and ecology consultant 
  • Elluc Projects – flood risk, civil and structural engineers 
  • SCP Transport – transport consultants 
  • SquareCGI – CGIs 
  • Roger Hannah & Co – viability 
  • LK Consult – site investigation and remediation strategy 
  • Ensafe – air quality and noise assessments 
  • Hatch – socio-economic impact 
  • Moss Naylor Young – canal restoration 

To learn more about the scheme, search for reference number 09775/20 on Bolton Council’s planning portal.

Your Comments

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Great news for Bolton and the surrounding area.

By Johnny the Boss

What happens if/when the developer decides that due to ‘inflation’ the costs of materials now make it financially unviable to provide a 61% provision of affordable housing on this project?

By Philip Smith-Lawrence

About time Bolton Council woke up to their woeful housing delivery. Great result

By Anonymous

Great news, at least someone has got common sense, and seen the light.

By Paul Dewhurst

Creams Mill has been on the cards for years and a far better scheme than the Grizedale submission.


The term ‘affordable housing’ is a tad ambiguous to say the least. Please list, for the benefit of potential buyers, what the cost of this affordable housing will be in pounds sterling, rather than the %age of actual purchase prices.

By Anthony Ballington

People make these decisions who don’t live here ,and don’t see what it is going to do to the village ,to much traffic not enough school places or doctors, wildlife will be disturbed and lost

By Anonymous

I trust Bolton council will extend their traffic calming measures to include Newmarket Road which undoubtedly will become a rat run for additional traffic

By Annoyed resident

What a joke. No room left for houses nor reliable public transport. The local high school is 3 thousand students over flowing and the roads are too packed during the day.

By Anonymous

Please ensure the canal breach gets repaired and in full water before this development gets finished and is signed off by the planning inspectorate. This will require a temporary dam at Little Lever top lock.

By Vince

Philip SL. Then they will be in breach of their planning approval. Typical negative comment as per

By Prestwich Dev

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