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Plans to build 15 houses on Market Street have been approved by Labour councillors as they rejected an idea to introduce new shops.

The plan, for the old Gaiety snooker hall site, was approved by Westhoughton Town Council on Monday night.

But Liberal Democrat councillor David Wilkinson said that the plan was not ambitious enough and should have included at least some retail units fronting onto Market Street.

David said: “Market Street is growing in popularity. We have a lower than average number of empty shops and we’ve seen quite a few new openings in recent weeks. Westhoughton will continue to grow and so will our main street. It is simply irresponsible to allow this valuable town centre space to be used simply for houses.”

David also said that losing the car park next to The Wheatsheaf pub would impact shoppers because there was already a lack of car parking during busy periods.

He said: “Westhoughton’s Labour councillors just don’t get it. We should be doing everything we can to support our town centre by creating the space for new small businesses to open and grow.”