Plans for a major new Bolton housing estate have moved forward.

The proposal to build 600 homes at Bowlands Hey across five phases had proven to be controversial with Bolton Council having rejected various points of the plan only to be overruled by government inspectors.

But now the latest phase for public art to be included at a children’s play area as part of the development has been put forward.

A statement said: “This location is within the central open space, which would be overlooked by neighbouring houses.

“A public artwork here would add interest to the greenspace and could also function as an informal play element and/or as seating, adjacent to the formal children's play area.”

The Bolton News: The site plan for the public art at the Bowlands Hey siteThe site plan for the public art at the Bowlands Hey site (Image: Bellway Homes)

The artwork is set to follow a farming inspired or natural environment theme in a nod to the site’s pastoral heritage.

Developers Bellway Homes have said they are interested in developing the artistic themes in collaboration with the community around the nearby area in Westhoughton.

The houses are set to be built as part of a scheme by Bellway Homes which has been through a long planning process in recent years.

The Bolton News: The land in WesthoughtonThe land in Westhoughton (Image: Newsquest)

The first phase, coming to 129 homes, was rejected by Bolton Council in 2017 only to be approved by the UK Planning Inspectorate after an appeal later that same year.

The second phase, made up of 167 homes, was approved after another appeal in 2020.

The next two phases, aiming to build 183 and 119 homes, were then again put before Bolton Council in March 2022 and once again were rejected by the planning committee, which had received nearly 1,000 letters of objection from residents.

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Many of these cited concerns about congestion, drainage and the affect on the area’s character.

The strain on public services like GP surgeries and schools was also cited.

But Bellway again decided to appeal against the rejection later that year and was again allowed to proceed by the UK Planning Inspectorate, which said that Bolton needed to meet its commitment to build more affordable homes.

Further details on the artwork proposal will be submitted once a scheme has been selected.