A COMMUNITY group is exploring the possibility of creating a political party — but someone tried to hijack its name.

Horwich First Community Group has been a force in the town for a number of years, fighting over issues including development, infrastructure and the environment.

Following the success of political newcomers Farnworth and Kearsley First, which grabbed three Bolton Council seats in the recent by-election and local elections, Horwich First members decided to ask the community whether they'd like to see a new party.

But the group was made aware of an application that had been submitted to the Electoral Commission in an attempt to register the Horwich First name.

The application was rejected following objections made by Horwich First.

A spokesman from the group said: "Horwich First Community Group objected in the strongest possible terms to the use of our name in a political party which we had no involvement with. Our members come from a variety of different backgrounds, however some of them have stood as independents."

The group believes it is a result of one of three scenarios: that a "well-intentioned" group unconnected to Horwich First tried to create a party; that someone tried to form the party to put out misinformation; or that people have done it to try and prevent the creation of a genuine Horwich First party.

The spokesman said: "Objections were submitted on the basis that a vote for this party, would or could be interpreted as a vote for us. To be clear, Horwich First Community Group and Blackrod First have no knowledge of who submitted what we believe is a vexatious application.

"So the question is, who has gone to the time, effort and money of attempting to register a political party called Horwich First, with the multiple descriptions they tried to use?"

The group has put in a request with the commission to see if they can find out who submitted the application.

In the meantime, Horwich First will be holding a public meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a political party.

The group's spokesman added: "As it appears there is a clear demand for a Horwich and Blackrod-based independent party, and now there is now clearly a requirement to protect our identity, the time has now come for a public meeting."