Fresh plans for houses on the former snooker hall site on Market Street have been announced.
The developer wants to build 15 two-bedroom terraced houses, including five along the front of the site, on Market Street, which could have been reserved for new shopping facilities. Each house will have one car parking space.
Westhoughton Labour councillors have previously supported houses on the town centre site, once home to the Gaeity snooker hall, and have consistently opposed a campaign to keep the site for retail use.
Westhoughton councillor David Wilkinson, who has launched a campaign to improve our town centre, believes the site should predominantly retained for the creation of new, larger shops.
He said: “Just sticking a load of quite unimaginative houses on this site, which is in a prime town centre location, completely disregards any chances we have of expanding and improving Market Street’s offer.
“Bigger shops would love to come to Westhoughton but they need larger units that this site could provide. It would be an excellent way of revitalising this end of the street.
“Other places have seen mixed developments where the ground floor is shops and restaurants, while attractive apartments designed to provide homes for our growing young population are built above. I have yet to see anything as imaginative as that for this site.
“Plans for a new micro-pub in the building next door show that businesses are interested in opening at this end of the street so it would be a shame to lose this site to yet more houses.”
The Wheatsheaf pub has also called for the site to be kept for retail use.
The pub’s management said recently: “The local residents feel very strongly that this area needs to be developed to include more shops and services for the town. The council should be encouraging this and supporting local business to move to Market Street.”
I prefer shops, not houses
They fear that a new housing development would put existing businesses at risk because it could open them up to future complaints from new residents about noise, opening hours and privacy despite it being the main shopping street.
The plans will now need to be considered by Westhoughton Town Council and Bolton Council.