Bolton’s thousands of empty homes have proven to be a key election topic in one of the borough’s closest fought seats.

This comes after the Bolton and District Pensioners Association contacted all of the candidates standing across the borough’s three seats ahead of the July election.

In Bolton North East, which was won narrowly by Conservative Mark Logan in 2019, housing was raised by several candidates responding to the pensioners’ questions.

Labour’s Kirith Entwistle said: “I have seen more and more being boarded up in Breightmet and am working with the council, Bolton at Home and a few experienced individuals in the housing sector to come up with a solution to this problem already.

"I am hopeful of our plans to build 1.5million new homes over the next parliament, and the announcement that we will immediately update the National Policy Planning Framework to undo damaging Conservative changes, including restoring mandatory housing targets. 

An empty houses on Rochester Avenue, BreightmetAn empty houses on Rochester Avenue, Breightmet (Image: Public)

"In partnership with local leaders and communities, a Labour government will build a new generation of new towns, inspired by the proud legacy of the 1945 Labour government."

Independent candidate Kevin Allsop said he hoped to make sure councils like Bolton take stronger action against empty homes using Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO).

Mr Allsop said: “There are 6,000 empty houses in Bolton.

“Bolton council have issued three EDMOs, whereas Kent have made a pot of £150m available.”

The broader state of the environment was also a major talking point when the pensioners sent out their manifesto.

Conservative candidate, Cllr Adele Warren, said that she hoped to tackle climate change but did not believe a target of “net zero” carbon emissions was credible.

She said: “I am passionate about the climate, but I also have an understanding of economics and the impact that would have on every individual in the country.

“The individual steps required to achieve net zero by 2030 are completely unrealistic to achieve.

"Coupled with a GM Mayoral pledge of 2038, which again is unrealistic.

“GMCA monitoring has proven time and time again that the 2038 date is increasingly unachievable.

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“2030 is a number plucked out of the air with little understanding of facts and consequences.”

Green Party candidates Cllr Hanif Alli said that he “unequivocally” supported all of the proposals in the document put before him by the pensioners’ association.

He said that they are “total in line with what the Green Party believes” and that their manifesto would show this.

Also standing in Bolton North East are Rebecca Forrest of the Liberal Democrats, Reform UK’s Trevor Jones, Syeda Misbah Kazmi of the Workers Party and independent John Partington.

The general election will be held on July 4.