COUNCILLORS in Bolton have backed a much-delayed masterplan for building new homes and creating jobs which will release land for housing and industry.

The full council voted to back the Places For Everyone plan, which sets out a long-term plan for what land in can be freed up for different kinds of development over the next 16 years.

The document replaces the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF), which was abandoned last year after it failed to win the support of Stockport council.

The plans for Bolton, similar to the previous draft of the GMSF, include around 13,000 new homes. It concludes the supply of brownfield sites in urban areas of the borough will be enough to meet that requirement.

Greenbelt sites have been allocated for employment at Chequerbent North in Westhoughton and land west of Wingates.

Cllr Toby Hewitt, planning cabinet member, said: "The latest draft of the plan represents an improvement in the conservation and protection of the green belt and infrastructure in our area.

Labour has welcomed the masterplan for the borough, which was approved after a vote and will go out to public consultation from next Monday.

Westhoughton Liberal Democrat Cllr David Wilkinson said the document will have significant impacts for his town.

He said: '"What's in the plan will cause considerable concern to the people of Westhoughton and Over Hulton.

"One of the issues is highways and one of the proposals is to remove a site out of green belt for industrial use on Snydale Way.

"People will be well aware of the traffic problems in that area around the motorway.

"It will be an interesting planning application to say the least.

"The main area of concern is 450 acres for industrial use west of Wingates.

"One hundred and ten acres has already received permission."

Cllr Wilkinson proposed an amendment to the plan to talk to developers to try and ensure that as much woodland and water features are protected within that Wingates development.

Cllr Martyn Cox, deputy council leader said during the consultation anyone could make representations and afterwards there would be a 'de-facto public inquiry'.

He said:"We fully expect one of the biggest representations will be from developers as they will look at our plans and say Bolton is not offering up enough land.

"We are voting...for people to have their say.

"If after the public inquiry it changes then we then reserve the right to re-examine it."

Labour leader Cllr Nick Peel said his group wholeheartedly supported the plans.

He said Bolton had got a reduced house building allocation with the plan and if Bolton pulled out of the plan they would likely have to find even more land for homes.

The Liberal Democrat amendment was defeated.

Councillors then voted in favour of sending the Places For Everyone plan out for public consultation.