Calls are set to be made to “urgently investigate” if a former free town centre car park that was earmarked for housing could be restored.

This comes with several new businesses having opened around Westhoughton town centre in recent months.

But this has also put pressure on car parking spaces, particularly at the around Market Street and Mill Street, where a car park had once previously stood.

Cllr Deirdre McGeown, of Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill, said: “I am hoping that the council’s executive will agree with me in congratulating the entrepreneurial spirit of business owners in Westhoughton which have turned it into a thriving town centre with a variety of retail and hospitality venues.

“However, the downside to this success is the insufficient level of car parking within Westhoughton town centre.”

The Bolton News: The question will be debated at Bolton Town HallThe question will be debated at Bolton Town Hall (Image: Newsquest)

She added: “We urgently need to investigate the possibility of returning this site to car parking to support the success and hard work of Westhoughton town centre businesses.”

Several new venues have been opened around the town in recent months including It Sear on Market Street, which opened in January.

Only a few months before, plans were put forward for a new restaurant above the Fireaway Pizza Takeaway, also on Market Street.

The month before the new Rishi’s Fusion Food outlet opened, again on Market Street while in October the Victoria pub announced plans to reopen soon on the same street.

 All of this has added to Westhoughton’s reputation as a food and drinks destination but has caused some concern over parking spaces.

This is especially so given recent plans for extra housing around the town, which is also likely to increase the need for places to park.

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Last August plans were lodged to create new flats above the Co-op on Market Street, while several larger scale developments have been planned further afield outside the town.

The privately owned Mill Street car park land had previously been earmarked for potential new housing in a blueprint.

But Cllr McGeown says she hopes to ask Bolton Council to look at re-designating the land for a free car park instead.

She will be putting her question to a full meeting of the council on Wednesday January 17.