THE Bolton News article on October 17 on plans to turn Old Station Park into a 'temporary' car park does not articulate why many Horwich residents are opposed to the loss of our park.

Some of the many reasons include:

1 The number of parking spaces is not enough to satisfy the original planning conditions of the new leisure centre, even taking the park as a car park.

2 The limited hours make no sense.

3 We already know there is no confirmed plan to demolish the current centre, so once there is a plan and demolition occurs, and a new health centre built (if that ever happens), that will take more than 12 months, even if you believe this will be only temporary, which I don't.

4 The original leisure centre project was to demolish the car park, build a new centre and then demolish the existing centre and build new parking on the site of the old centre, with a use (now the health centre) being found for the remainder of the site, nothing has changed!

5 It was always the responsibility of Bolton Council to demolish the building not the GPs. Where has the initial funding gone? Why rush into a project that clearly has not been planned!?

6 Any other business would have to close to satisfy the original planning conditions, why is Bolton Council's application any different? The only suitable options are either a multi-storey in St John Street or comply with the original plans and demolish the old centre to provide adequate parking on site before opening, a 'land grab' in Old Station Park, however, temporary, cannot be the answer to the issue of lack of parking, an issue we always said would happen and entirely of Bolton Council's making.

7 Even on existing plans there is a shortage of parking once the centres are completed, accommodating leisure centre users and three GPs surgeries, we are now also advised staff from the clinic and Public Hall will also be relocated, who were not accounted for in the traffic survey, adding to the issue of lack of parking.

8 Given existing conditions have already been ignored or are to be seemingly changed and taking Bolton Council's record in Horwich on other developments, assurances that this will be for a 'temporary' 12 months are not believable.

9 Title deeds obtained suggest a covenant from when British Rail gifted the land to the people of Horwich for recreation and leisure "conveyance and assignment of the land in this title and other land dated March 29, 1974, made between (1) The British Railways Board and (2) Horwich Urban District Council contains restrictive covenants and reservations", although Bolton Council who inherited Horwich UDC's assets have so far declined to advise what, if any, these might be.

10 Drinkwater Lane is a private road not up to highway standard and the access on to and off Chorley New Road — in a dip, on a bend, is dangerous. Once controlled contractor access and separation from pedestrians is removed, this will further decrease safety in the park.

Horwich has lost enough facilities, taking any part of our park, however 'temporary' is not acceptable.

I would ask that the Bolton Council planning committee treat this application as it would any non-council application which fails to meet the original conditions and reject the plans outright.

Cllr Steven Chadwick

Lever Park Ward


Member of Horwich First Community Group