Green belt land around a historic farm will be 'protected' and added to as part of a major new development deal.

The Places for Everyone scheme, which sets the blueprint for development all over Greater Manchester, is likely to be approved now government inspectors have finished their examinations.

But though this will remove land from the green belt across the region, in the case of Horwich’s historic Knowles Farm, the deal will in fact add green belt land.

Cllr David Grant, of Horwich South and Blackrod, said: “It’s disappointing that a six or seven-year fight resulted in a loss of open space in Horwich.

“However, we are really pleased that we will be able to protect in perpetuity the designated space at the top of Knowles Farm, which is now green belt land under places for everyone.”

The Bolton News: Authorities around Greater Manchester, including Bolton Council, are set to vote on the schemeAuthorities around Greater Manchester, including Bolton Council, are set to vote on the scheme (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “The importance of all open space land, not just green belt land, was proven during the pandemic and we’re very lucky to have lots of open spaces in Horwich.”

The inspectors made a number of alternations to the scheme, which has been in the works now for more than a decade.

Now, following a consultation launched last year, inspectors William Fieldhouse, Louise Gibbons and Steven Lee reported earlier this month that Places for Everyone is "sound."

Previous meetings have heard how Places for Everyone will aim to build as many as 165,000 homes across Greater Manchester.

In Bolton this will mean the removal of around 205 hectares of land from the green belt across various sites.

These include Bewshill Farm off Salford Road, Chequerbent North off Chequerbent Roundabout and West of Wingates off Chorley Road.

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But in Horwich’s case the blueprint means that around 8.3 hectares of land will be added to the green belt at the top of Knowles Farm.

Cllr Grant says that he and his party, Horwich and Blackrod First Independents which hold all six of the towns’ seats on Bolton Council, now hope to work constructively with developers.

He says they hope to do so to protect the area’s green belt land and open spaces.

Bolton Council, along with every other Greater Manchester authority other than Stockport which left the scheme in 2020, will now vote on whether or not to approve the blueprint.

The votes are expected to take place between now and March 20 this year.