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Bolton Council’s controlling Labour councillors have been slammed for breaking their promise to hold a full inquiry in planning processes in the town.

In December, Labour appeared to be agreeing to a full independent inquiry into the council’s planning processes in an attempt to satisfy concerns expressed by many residents and councillors. However, at the last Council meeting on June 28 Labour were talking about a far more limited inquiry.

Westhoughton town councillor David Wilkinson said: “There is widespread and genuine concern about how the planning process in Bolton works. It is important that a full and independent inquiry is held which can either set minds at rest or discover what problems there are so they can be corrected. In December, Labour appeared to be agreeing to that, but now that the local elections are safely out of the way they are talking about a far more limited investigation.

“There is a widespread belief that decisions on planning are made for political reasons and to garner votes from certain sections of the community. It is important to consider whether or not that happens. This backsliding from Labour will only increase suspicions.”

The Liberal Democrats in Bolton, who have called for a full investigation, say it is essential that councillors and the public are able to put forward any evidence they feel is relevant, and that officers can be asked to give evidence (in confidence if they wish).

Liberal Democrat councillors put forward their own ideas on the terms of reference in December, but have yet to hear anything apart from an acknowledgement.