A TOWN council is exploring the idea of cutting ties with Bolton Council.

Horwich Town Council has written to the government to review the town’s position as part of Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council.

It comes as many residents feel they have been forgotten when it comes to funding or having a voice.

Horwich councillors voted unanimously at their recent meeting for two motions put forward by Cllr Steven Chadwick, deputy mayor of Horwich.

The first motion seeks a review of which local authority Horwich is in, which is currently Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council. The second is to relook at its boundary lines.

Cllr Chadwick told The Bolton News: “I am regularly told by residents that they would prefer to be in an authority other than the current one. As a Town Councillor, I believe it the role of elected officials to reflect and act on local concerns.

“A lot of people feel there is a concentration of funding a power to the middle of Bolton, everything feels sucked into Bolton.

“It doesn’t feel like the outer areas such as ours receive the same amount of funding or have as much of a voice.

“The millions being put into town centre regeneration just highlights this for us.”

Bolton Council was created in 1972, merging different areas of modern Bolton, such as Farnworth Municipal Borough Council, Kearsley Urban District Council, Westhoughton, Turton and Horwich, within the new administrative area of Greater Manchester.

However, after nearly 50 years of this system, many residents now believe it is time to have a look at the system, according to Cllr Chadwick.

This is said to be due to people who remember the old system and perhaps preferred it that way -and because of decisions in more recent times.

Cllr Chadwick said: “Planning is also a huge issue. It feels like decisions regarding planning in Horwich are made by Bolton and the town council doesn’t have a voice, we seem to be against most of the decisions that are made.

“The approval of plans to build houses on Pickup’s Fields was the final straw for me and a lot of others, getting rid of a key Horwich green space.

“We are also the only place in Bolton without a modern health centre. It’s a farce, the new smaller leisure centre was rushed through despite local opposition as apparently the health centre funding was time critical, but yet we still don’t have one.

“It’s been a frustration for many over many years, the motion isn’t demanding anything and saying who else we might join with, it’s just saying can we have another look at this as it isn’t working for us anymore.

“People have a right to be governed in a way and by people they want and there are many people not happy with the status quo as it is.”

A poll done by The Bolton News in 2014 asking readers if Horwich should become part of Chorley resulted in 60 per cent voting in favour of this.

Cllr Chadwick also sited examples of reviews done elsewhere in England, such as the creation of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole authority in 2018 and the potential creation of a Morecambe Bay authority, showing that reviews of this kind are not uncommon.

He said he is merely “asking for a review” so the “question has at least been asked” which may either resolve in nothing happening or a public consultation into the matter.

Cllr Chadwick suggested that Horwich could either join with Chorley, or join with other smaller towns in Greater Manchester that were “more in touch” with each other, being smaller towns.

For example, he suggested Horwich could combine with Blackrod, Westhoughton, Atherton and Leigh to make a new authority with a similar population size to West Lancashire or Chorley.

“It’s not a completely ridiculous idea,” he said. “We’re just asking for a review and it might be something that could be replicated across Greater Manchester, I know there’s similar feelings in places like Radcliffe and Leigh.

“We just feel unitary authorities don’t work for areas such as ours, it feels strange driving into Horwich and seeing welcome to Bolton signs when I’m six miles away, even things like that don’t feel right.

“Horwich has a long history of its own and a strong identity and being part of ‘Bolton’ doesn’t seem right and that’s feedback we get from a lot of residents.”

The second motion submitted to the secretary of state looks to review the Horwich parish boundary.

It seeks to request a review of the Parish boundary to include all of Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich Parkway Railway Station, and also to include Parklands and the land behind Parklands within the Parish.

Cllr Chadwick said: “Parklands is for all intents and purposes, Horwich. When you leave Junction 6, M61, people know that is Horwich. However, the actual boundaries do not reflect that or the modern Horwich.

“If Parklands became part of Horwich the town council could have a say on any planning applications there which it currently doesn’t.

“It would make the boundary more logical as most consider that area Horwich, it’s a bit ridiculous that Horwich parkway isn’t in the Horwich boundary.”

Horwich and Blackrod councillor, Peter Wright, added: “Cllr Chadwick has written an excellent report on this which the time allowed in Horwich council didn’t do it justice, as a Parish Council we have a strong voice which there hasn’t been a willing from Horwich Council to use.

“I can speak for all Horwich Town Councillors that we want more of a voice in local issues and be more community driven that Party Politics.”