A Retired GP couple in Bolton have been given permission to downsize their home by building on green belt which is on the same site as their existing property.

The plans were discussed by planning committee who dismissed the officers' recommendation that the proposals be refused.

One councillor also voiced objections to the plans stating proposals like this could lead to there being "one big united country and one big united town."

Permission was sought for a three bedroom house at the garden of the Moor House site on Grange Road in Bromley Cross.

Planning officers recommended that the application being refused because the development was  on the green belt.

The report about the application states: "The proposed new dwelling is inappropriate development within the green belt as it does not meet any of the exception criteria within national or local green belt planning policy.

"The proposal is therefore a departure from Bolton’s development plan.  

"The proposed dwelling would have a significantly greater impact on the openness of the green belt than the existing development, of which there is none."

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At this week's meeting of  Bolton's planning committee Dr Lancashire, one of the applicants, asked for it to be approved.

He said: "Having lived and worked at GPs locally for 40 years we wish to continue to live here in our dotage in an eco-friendly purpose designed dwelling.

"Our plans would have a minimal impact on the site with no new entrance required to Grange Road and a low profile design fitting in with a rural setting."

He argued that a larger similar development was approved on the other side of the road to his present house in 2019.

Cllr Ryan Bamforth, who sits on the committee, said this was how urban sprawl began.

He said: "My concerns here are this is a different planning committee than the one that sat in 2019.

"I wasn't elected in 2019.

"We cannot follow examples from what previous planning committees have done because they made a decision of what they wanted to do at the time.

"This is encroaching on green belt, because part of green belt is on the property, regardless of whether the building is being built on that area.

"If we start now saying yes who is to say the planning committee next year doesn't come along and say last year said yes and so on and so on and so on before we know it we have no green belt and all have it one big country of one united town."

Cllr  Samantha Connor, who represents the Bromley Cross ward, said the move should be approved.

She said: "The proposed bungalow does not alter the green belt boundary and the openness of the green belt.

"It's a private plot and we are not talking about a sprawling housing estate.

"It does not constitute urban sprawl."

The committee voted to approve the plans.