Plans to build gas-powered generators on greenfield land in Westhoughton rejected

By Rosalind Saul

Plans to build gas-powered generators on greenfield land in Westhoughton rejected

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A SCHEME to build 14 gas-powered electrical generators in greenfield land in Westhoughton has been refused planning permission.

UK Energy Reserve Limited applied to Bolton Council to construct an electricity generating compound on the site of a former coal yard in Hulton Park between the A58 and Manchester Road, next to the Chequerbent roundabout.

Thirty-three letters of objections were lodged by residents and a petition against the plans - which included 14 chimney flues standing at 38-foot high - gathered more than 250 signatures.

Planners recommend the application for refusal due to lack of imformation on the impact the development would have on residents and the environment.

Sandra Hesketh, a resident on Manchester Road, campaigned against the plans and hopes the grounds for refusal will also provide reasonable grounds for rejecting other planning application in the area.

She said: “We are really pleased to hear it has been rejected.

“We did not have long to object but the petition reached over 200 signatures in just three days. The more people who heard about it, the more people who wanted to sign it.

“We could use this against the plans for 1,700 houses by Peel Holdings.”

The application also included plans for a kiosk, oil storage tank, and to Portacabins, as well as housing the generators in soundproof metal containers

Peel is also behind plans to build an 18-hole golf course on the Hulton Park Estate.

In the officers report by Principal Planning officer Jeanette Isherwood said Peel argued the development could be built on greenfield due to ‘special circumstances’ - the National Grid identifying a growing demand in Bolton over the next four years and lack of brownfield site.

However, she ruled that they “do not clearly outweigh the detrimental harm to the Green Belt”.

Council officers also found flaws with the applicant’s noise assessment report and an impact on the environment, with the access track to the north of the sire resulting in “the loss of the majority of trees along the line”.

As a result the application was rejected for being an inappropriate development on green belt and for insufficient information provided on noise levels and the impact on surrounding trees.