A bid by the biggest pub company in the country to build four homes in the car park of a pub was approved by Bolton Council.

Stonegate Group applied for outline planning permission for the site at the rear of Westhoughton's White Horse on December 1.

Formed in 2010, it is the biggest pub company in the country after the acquisition of big brands including Slug & Lettuce and Yates and this is one of more than 4,000 pubs it owns across the UK.

It bid to build up to four homes in the car park close to the junction of Bolton Road and Manchester Road, a junction identified in the past as a problem due to the level of traffic passing through it.

The Bolton News: The car park

The application said: "The proposal represents an 'infill' development within the urban area of the sustainable settlement of Westhoughton with the site being in walking distance to a wide range of services. 

"The small size of the site ensures there will be negligible impacts on local amenities and local services as well as the highways network.

"The site makes the most effective use of land by bringing back an underutilised piece of hardstanding land to a viable use. This therefore means there are no adverse impacts to the existing use of the site.

"Ultimately, the site is identified as being in a sustainable location in the adopted Development Plan, considered a suitable location in the National Planning Policy Framework, and it has no adverse impacts."

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The homes are to be accessed from Bolton Road and the car park, which will be retained with 36 spaces and which will be separated off by a fence, is to be accessed from Manchester Road as it is today.

A number of residents wrote to Bolton Council out of concern for these access arrangements and other issues but, on May 1, the application for outline planning permission was approved by the council.

The decision said: "When assessed against the policies in Bolton's Core Strategy, Places for Everyone and the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole this application is considered acceptable and therefore recommended for approval subject to conditions."

The application is for outline planning permission so the details such as the appearance of the homes are to be determined.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.