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But those efforts proved to be in vain, as the Government overturned the decision on the grounds that a 12-month deadline, as opposed to the usual three years, would put developers off buying the site.Cllr Sean Hornby, Bolton UKIP leader, said: "We are keeping our end of the deal by granting planning permissions.We should always be prepared to fight against development on open protected land and green belt." This year has seen the Government give developers the go-ahead to build 129 homes in Westhoughton, after the council lost an appeal decision over land at Bowlands Hey.A further decision is due on plans for 300 homes at Lee Hall.They come at a time when large developers are exploiting the council's lack of an approved five-year housing supply plan to secure approval for large new estates on protected land.
Cllr Sherrington added: "We have great difficulties with this for a number of reasons."These penalties need to be tough, but this whole situation is not helped when the GMSF is allowed to become overwhelmingly developer-led, offering up our green belt on a plate."Bolton Council had a fully approved Allocations Plan, which identified sites for housing development, and which committed Bolton to its quota for new housing.Also listed among the town's as yet undeveloped plans are designs for 41 dwellings on the site of the former SS Osmund and Andrew RC Primary School, and the conversion of the Spa Mill into 32 apartments.
Cllr David Greenhalgh, Bolton's Conservative leader, said: "Developers need to be penalised heavily for non-development on a site, both financially and through a reversal of planning consent.
The developer had its plans for the land at Old Hall Street approved by Bolton Council in 2007, but has twice had the permission's expiry date extended from the usual three year limit.