THE redevelopment of the borough’s last greyhound stadium is finally set to go ahead — more than 18 months after councillors accepted plans for 50 homes at the site.

The former greyhound racing track in Westhoughton was demolished in 2014, following the approval of initial designs for 38 new houses at the site in Wigan Road.

However, work was delayed because of negotiations about the number of community contributions the developer, Sparkle Developments should make.

The applicant then returned to the council with a revised scheme for 50 homes, which was given the green light in October, 2015 — but it took until May, 25 this year for the formal agreement to be signed.

Developers of new estates are required to donate cash to pay for community facilities.

Sparkle has agreed to pay £68,000 for the off-site provision of affordable housing, £10,000 towards improvements at Washacre Primary School, £25,000 for highways improvements, £10,000 to improve the play area in Hewlett Street, £2,000 for public art, and £19,000 for health facilities. Although the site does fall within the green belt, the council said that there were “very special circumstances” which made the scheme permissible.

The developers intend to create 30 detached houses, 12 semi-detached properties and eight terraced houses.

According to a council report into the plans, the regeneration of the dog track site and its surrounding structures would remove a “harmful” blight on the surrounding environment.

Westhoughton Town Council objected to the plans, raising concerns over the impact the increased number of houses would have on the area’s strained road infrastructure.

However, the council received more than 5,000 emails and 1,000 postcards supporting the scheme, which was backed by the Campaign Against Greyhound Exploitation and Death (CAGED) North West.

Applicant Ian Holden told a previous planning committee meeting that he had to consider an alternative use for the track after finding its maintenance unsustainable, adding that the redevelopment would create more than 60 local jobs.

Bolton's last greyhound track is demolished

The council report said: “The proposal would result in the redevelopment of the greyhound track site, albeit located within the green belt is a previously developed site.

“The applicant has sought to provide a scheme which provides a range of dwelling types, from modest semi-detached properties to large detached properties, whilst also seeking to increase the level of community contributions.

“It is considered that on balance the benefits of the scheme outweigh any relatively minor impacts on the openness of the green belt in this location.”