THE only remaining greyhound track in Bolton will be demolished to make way for 38 new homes after councillors unanimously approved plans.
Bolton Council received 17 letters of objection to allowing the stadium in Wigan Road, Westhoughton, to close and opponents of the plans booed as they were given the go-ahead yesterday.
Cllr Bob Allen said he sympathised with fans of the sport but said it was “dying” and that the site was always going to change “sooner or later”.
Councillors and council officers praised the applicant and developers for the thought that went into the proposals, especially the consideration of the impact on traffic, the environment and its compatibility with the surrounding area.
The site is listed as part of greenbelt but this was discounted as it had already been developed.
It was also noted that, in addition to the letters of objection, the council received more than 1,000 messages of support for the plan, most of which came from animal rights protesters.
Westhoughton Town Council had recommended refusal to the plan on the grounds of over-development.
Cllr Ann-Marie Watters said: “Although this is a green belt site I think it will be in keeping with the area.
“My main concern was the dangerous impact of traffic from Wigan Road but the measures to reduce the speed limit to 30mph will enhance traffic calming measures already in place.
“I actually think this site will look greener than it does currently, and it will vastly improve it.”
Applicant Ian Holden has said he had to consider an alternative use for the track after finding its maintenance unsustainable after being forced to halve the rent.
The site will contain plenty of green space, with planning regulations stating that there is space for 82 homes rather than the 38 earmarked.
Mr Holden claimed more than 60 local jobs would be created by the development.
A speaker on behalf of the developers said: “We all know housing provision is becoming a huge issue nationally.
“This would provide 38 high quality houses and the plan is of immediate value.
“We are aware that the site has heritage and people will be sad to see the track close but I think its best days are behind it.”