A NEW report has fuelled claims that outer towns are "carrying" the borough when it comes to housing.

A total of 971 houses need to be built in Horwich by 2036 according to the new report.

The figure, however, does not take into account the regeneration of Horwich Loco Works, which is expected to deliver more than 1,600 homes.

This is because the housing development at Rivington Chase is expected to cater for residents outside of the immediate area.

But Cllr Marie Brady, chair of the Horwich Neighbourhood Plan steering committee, said the situation is "very difficult", describing the situation as a "conundrum".

She said: “For me personally, I don’t think any particular area is carrying the borough per se. It all depends on what developers bring forward. Loco Works isn’t just for Horwich residents. It’s to cover the needs of the borough. But common sense will tell you there will be Horwich residents that are moving there as well."

The newly-elected borough councillor wants to focus on the types of houses that are needed and where they will be built.

She believes that the planning committee sent a "clear message" by throwing out plans to build 300 homes at Horwich Golf Course.

However, the decision was appealed and will be reconsidered at a public inquiry which takes place in July.

Cllr Brady believes that the borough council has already taken steps to prevent housebuilding in green spaces with its brownfield first approach.

She now wants the government to step in and make sure developers fulfil their commitments.

She said: “For me, this has to go back to government level to make a ruling that they have to develop within a set time. They can say they've started building, but what’s the penalty if they don’t? The land’s not taken."

Labour councillor Kevin McKeon praised the report which highlights needs of elderly people and those in social housing.

But he wants to see more of an analysis of Horwich in the context of the region.

He said: "I’m not clear from the report if the relationship between Horwich and Greater Manchester, and indeed the rest of the region, has been sufficiently examined.”

The Horwich North East representative does not believe that Horwich is "carrying" the borough when it comes to housing.

He added: “In terms of housing allocation, national guidelines would suggest that it has to be done on a borough-wide basis or in the context of Greater Manchester, on a wider basis. Whilst the needs of people in Horwich must take priority, unfortunately they can’t be considered in isolation.”

Local Conservative councillor Susan Baines wanted to highlight the need for affordable housing in light of recently revealed child poverty figures.

The rate of child poverty in Horwich and Blackrod is 22.7 per cent while in Horwich North East it is 27.7 per cent.

The figures, provided by Child Poverty Action Group, are calculated after housing costs.

She said: "This is one area that needs to be addressed and will be a focus for the new wellbeing portfolio which I hold. Wellbeing is a salient issue for the new administration, for all wards across Bolton."