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Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Restoration - Developer wins appeal

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I don't think this has already been posted


I gave the canal restoration evidence on this one - the Developer won and the canal will be reinstated past the breach site at Little Lever as part of the development. On a personal note the public inquiry was two weeks after my fathers funeral and getting this result was rather emotional as dad had known I was going to do the inquiry and he had taken me to the breach site about forty years ago when I was a teenager. He would have been pleased at this outcome and at my role in it.


Forum rules on where this should go are a bit opaque, so I've put it in the news section. For those wondering why news is both pasted and the link added it's because our rules say this is what we should do!




Watson prevails at Creams Mill appeal 


Bolton Council refused the developer’s 255-home scheme in Little Lever due to its position in the Green Belt but the Planning Inspectorate has overturned that decision. 

In summing up, inspector Nick Palmer said the benefits of Watson’s scheme, particularly in relation to its 61% provision of affordable housing, “clearly outweigh” the identified harms to the Green Belt and “amount to the very special circumstances needed to justify the development.” 

  • To read the full decision notice search for reference number APP/N4205/W/22/3301093 on the PINS website.

“We are delighted to see the approval of our planning appeal for the regeneration of Creams Mill and Hall Lane,” said Rob Watson, director at Watson. 

“The Inspector agreed that there is a desperate need for new housing in Bolton and this development will play a significant role in the delivery of both affordable and market housing. “ 

In December 2021, the council’s planning committee voted unanimously to reject the scheme, which is split across the former Creams Mill site off Mytham Road and another plot around a mile away off Hall Lane. 

At the time, Bolton Council argued the 31-acre development, which also features proposals to restore a 700-metre section of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, had to be refused “for the benefit of the town, the planet and future generations.” 

Designed by TADW Architects, the homes will incorporate renewable energy technology, including air-source heat pumps, to lower the cost of hot water and energy, according to Watson. 

The properties comprise a mix of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom houses and apartments. 

Of these 154 homes will be available on affordable tenures. Watson is working with housing association partners to deliver the affordable housing across the development. 

P4 Planning advised Watson on the application and appeal. 

“There is a national housing crisis and an even more acute need for affordable homes,” said Gillian Worden, director P4 Planning. 

“Local housebuilders have an important role to play in tackling this and increasing housing supply. This development will help address Bolton’s significant overall housing shortfall and realise a long-term dream of restoring the canal and seeing it back in use, helping to justify development in the Green Belt.” 

The project team for Watson’s Creams Mill redevelopment includes:  

  • P4 Planning – planning and EIA consultant 
  • Rumpus – public consultation & SOCI 
  • TADW – architect 
  • Enzygo – landscape architect and ecology consultant 
  • Elluc Projects – flood risk, civil and structural engineers 
  • SCP Transport – transport consultants 
  • SquareCGI – CGIs 
  • Roger Hannah & Co – viability 
  • LK Consult – site investigation and remediation strategy 
  • Ensafe – air quality and noise assessments 
  • Hatch – socio-economic impact 
  • Moss Naylor Young – canal restoration 

To learn more about the scheme, search for reference number 09775/20 on Bolton Council’s planning portal.

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  • magpie patrick changed the title to Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Restoration - Developer wins appeal

Thanks Patrick. 

I've read through the appeal decision and clearly it was a very complicated application. Well done to all the team involved for persisting with it. I hope the construction goes ahead successfully. It should give many benefits to the local area and be a good example of development funded canal restoration.

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