Land being in “private ownership” could derail hopes for new free car parks in a growing town centre area.

Westhoughton has been growing its reputation as a food and drinks destination with several new venues opening up in recent years, prompting calls for extra parking to help relief pressures.

A town hall meeting heard how Bolton Council will be prepared to review its “district centre masterplan” for Westhoughton, but more car parking spaces may not be possible.

Cabinet member for transport, housing and highways, Cllr Hamid Khurram, said: “I should point out however that some of the site within the plan are in private ownership and could not be secured and delivered for parking.”

He added: “I’m happy to look at this again and to review the parking assessment that has been carried out previously.”

The Bolton News: Questions were posed at Bolton Town HallQuestions were posed at Bolton Town Hall (Image: Newsquest)

The calls for more parking spaces came after the opening several new venues around Market Street and Mill Street in Westhoughton.

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

To help cope with the extra pressure Cllr Deirdre McGeown, of Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill, suggested converting up to three sites around the town.

This included a site on Mill Street designated for housing according to the district masterplan previously set out by Bolton Council.

Addressing a full meeting of the council, Cllr McGeown said the growth of new businesses around Westhoughton should be celebrated.

She said this had turned the area into a “thriving town centre with a variety of retail and hospitality venues".

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

“Will he agree with me and my colleagues to review the developer prospectus produced by Bolton Council earlier this year, which included three sites in Westhoughton, in particular the former Mill Street car park designated for housing?

“Will he agree to investigate the possibility of returning this site to car parking to support the success and hard work of Westhoughton town centre businesses?”

Cllr Khurram said he would be willing to review the district centre masterplan alongside Westhoughton councillors.