Residents demand say on Westhoughton Town Hall

Residents are demanding a say on the future of Westhoughton Town Hall and called on Bolton Council to meet the community’s needs at a meeting where feelings ran high.

Bolton Council have put forward plans to transform the civic building into resturants and cafes, and allow businesses to operate out of it.

But residents say they have not been consulted on the plans and say  investment is needed in other areas of Westhoughton, including health.

More than 50 people attended the meeting this week.

It was organised by  Janet Colley, the founder of the Westhoughton Community Assist Service.

She said: “After some research about the original consultation which started in 2019 and the creation of a steering group from a tiny minority of the town, we believe the whole consultation process was flawed and not an appropriate way forward. 

“The information regarding cafe and restaurants was a surprise to most people, even on the steering group and no council services point is a travesty for a fast growing town like Westhoughton. 

“We wish to change the proposed plans before they are submitted to planning and in real and direct consultation with the wider community through a community led focus group.” 

Others said vital services could operate of the building rather than private enterprise.

Cllr David Wilkinson for Westhoughton South was also at the meeting and said: “I’m pleased that so many people have come forward, but we did have a consultation yet people didn’t see it.

“Some people in the community don’t like the plans and are angry because there is not enough information on it and this is an opportunity that the council will listen and pause on the plans for a few months.

“When I saw the building recently, it was heart-breaking. There are many here working with vulnerable people, and they think it will take away vital services to them.

“But equally, a lot of people said yes when the plans were publicised because there are different groups of people in the community.”

Members of the community at the meeting felt the plans overlooked their needs for a health centre.

Sandra Williams said: “Aspull have built a new health centre and they’re tiny in comparison.”

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