IN response to Cllr Silvester's letter, Craig Rotheram's letter was correct!

Craig's letter advised Horwich Golf Course is at risk "predominantly", to use Craig's wording, Bolton Council's policies and a failure to plan, absolutely correct, regardless of government policies, which Bolton Labour seem to attribute as the sole issue.

Bolton Council was simply always over reliant on the Horwich Loco Works (Rivington Chase) development going ahead.

It is now proceeding with conditions removed or changed, and local residents' concerns ignored.

For Bolton, it seemingly has to proceed for the good of the borough, whatever the objections and concerns in Horwich, to protect other areas.

Richard says "sufficient" land throughout the borough was set aside in the allocations plan.

This, however, is only correct if Rivington Chase proceeds in a timely manner.

It is behind schedule due to delays and now the borough is well behind on its building quota and so pressure increases on green field sites!

As Craig and indeed Chris Green MP both alluded to in The Bolton News, the independent inspector has then had to allow similar inappropriate developments in Westhoughton and Bolton Council withdrew its objection to a similar development on green open space in Blackrod, this is because Bolton are behind, this is a direct result of 0 of 1,700 houses being built so far on the Loco Works!

Richard is correct in that councils do not build houses themselves, but the shortfall means the Loco Works cannot be allowed fail, or be further delayed, and it now proceeds, despite, as just one example, no guarantees of funding for the link roads through to Middlebrook.

I twice asked for "guarantees" and both times a Bolton Council officer at a Horwich Town Council meeting advised they would "endeavour" to get funding. Not good enough!

In Horwich, Bolton Council has also set a worrying precedent. The College Field was also designated as "open green space," the same status as the golf club (it was a sport field, but recatergorised and so not replaced when it was built on).

Cllr Silvester's Labour colleagues had absolutely no issue with allowing building on open green space at Horwich College, contrary to the core strategy and residents' concerns, despite myself and indeed to be fair, Richard, also protesting.

What's the difference between open green space at the golf club and open green space at Horwich College football pitch? Absolutely none, which is surely what any developer would argue on any green open space now.

With regards to the Neighbourhood Plan, Craig was not referring to the time when Richard was on the town council when members voted against one, but the delays since 2015.

Thankfully the Neighbourhood Plan process is finally slowly progressing, and whilst it may not have power to block specific developments, it is a statutory planning document which has to be taken into account, and if adopted, may have offered extra protection to green open space in Horwich, including the golf club, as Craig says.

Finally, Horwich First is most confused with Richard's letter.

We are not aware that Richard is a member of our community group as stated, or that he has attended any of our meetings.

Our meetings are obviously open to any Horwich residents who support our aims.

Cllr Steven Chadwick

Lever Park Ward

Horwich member of Horwich First