The latest scheme to build houses over a former golf range has been thrown out over concerns it would be “harmful” to green belt land.

The outline plan, by applicants Michael and Wendy Warburton, had originally set out to demolish the Kearsley Golf Driving Range, just off Moss Lane, and build seven houses over the site.

But a report by Bolton Council found that though the borough urgently needs to add to its housing supply, this did not outweigh the possible damage to the green belt.

The report said: “Notwithstanding the lack of five-year housing land supply, and re-use of previously development land, the proposal is considered to comprise inappropriate development in the green belt and, thus, harmful to it.”

It added: “It is also considered that the proposals would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area, to which significant weight is afforded.

The Bolton News: The plans have now been refusedThe plans have now been refused (Image: Fuzed Architecture and Design)

“Insufficient information is also provided with respect to the site location plan and accessibility and the loss of the sporting facility.

“Significant weight is therefore attached to these harms.”

The golfing range closed in January 2023, with the owners having cited the “economic climate” as the reason behind this after more than 50 years in business.

The Bolton News:  The old golfing range is now empty The old golfing range is now empty (Image: Public)

Since the start of 2023, the site has been vacant with several plans having been put forward since then to find new uses for the land.

In October last year a proposal was put forward which aimed to build eight new homes with between two and five bedrooms on the golf range site.

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This would have involved demolishing the driving range and club house along with other buildings to make way for the new houses.

The most recent version instead was an outline application for seven new homes, all of them with one floor and three bedrooms each to be built over the old golfing range.

But Bolton Council officers have now refused the latest scheme.

The report said: “The proposals fail to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment, one of the five purposes of the green belt, and would therefore not comply with the fundamental aim of green belt policy to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open.”