A DECISION on the controversial 174-home development at Bowlands Hey has been delayed until next month.

Planning inspector Helen Heward is due to decide the outcome of an appeal from developer Bellway Homes by April 12.

She was previously expected to make a decision following January’s public inquiry by March 21 at the latest.

The deadline has been postponed to allow extra time for the local authority and the developer to make further representations.

This comes as new planning guidance on housing was issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

It requires all major housing development appeals in progress to allow further comments from parties on the policy.

The housing development was refused by Bolton’s planning committee last year but appealed by Bellway Homes.

This resulted in a four-day public inquiry in which the developer argued that the council is not meeting its housing need.

Therefore, the protected green space should be used for housing, according to the developer’s legal team.

This proposed development is the second phase of development at the Westhoughton site.

The first phase of 129 homes was approved after being overturned by a planning inspector on appeal.

So far, at least 14 houses have already been sold at The Vistas, the name given to the first phase, and residents are expected to move in by April.