Thoughts for 2014

If you are over 45 – the world population has doubled in your lifetime.In 1968 the world population was 3.5 billion – today it exceeds 7.2 billion. It grows by over 200,000 daily.

The first photograph was taken in 1826. It is estimated that approximately 880 billion photographs will be taken in 2014.   10% of all the photographs ever taken were taken in the last twelve months.

In less than 70 years mankind learnt how to fly and landed a man on the moon.

There are whales alive today – that were alive before Moby Dick was written

Oxford university is older than the Aztecs








The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Greenbelt is seeking responses from interested parties and groups about how Greenbelt land is protected and preserved for the future.
The group intends to publish a report on the basis of this evidence in Spring 2014, with oral evidence sessions also being held in the New Year.
In particular, the group would like to focus on issues including:
·         What has been the effect of the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies and the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in the context of the preservation of greenbelt land?
·         Which local councils are taking their obligations on greenbelt preservation seriously and which local councils are placing greenbelt land under threat?
·         What new policy ideas should be considered to increase greenbelt protection?
·         Should brownfield land in greenbelt areas have the same protection as Greenfield land in greenbelt areas?
·         How can we increase local community engagement in protecting the greenbelt?
·         How can it be made clearer to the media the important distinction between ‘greenfield’ land and ‘greenbelt’ land- with the importance of greenbelt being highlighted as separate from greenfield.
·         How do we balance the need to sustain the greenbelt with the need for sustainable communities?
·         Should certain areas of greenbelt land be given higher protection than other areas?
·         What should the greenbelt look like for the twenty first century?
Responses and submissions can be sent to or posted to APPG Greenbelt, Room 20, Norman Shaw North, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA.
Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2014.

Road from loco works to Station Road: Refused

A planning permission for the road was refused by Bolton Council this week. The road would have allowed the building of 500 houses on land owned by network rail. These houses were part of the 1700 to be built on the loco works site. Ultimately it would have linked the loco works site (and Chorley New Road), with Station Road, in Blackrod.

The decision notice states ”

“The application proposal does not constitute a single comprehensive application or approach for the
entire Horwich Loco Works site and therefore does not ensure, but instead jeopardises, the site’s
comprehensive and viable regeneration, the timely provision of infrastructure and appropriate highway
and environmental mitigation requirements, and is thereby contrary to Policies M1 and M2 of Bolton’s
Core Strategy and Policy 10 of The Former Horwich Loco Works Supplementary Planning Document.
No solutions could be offered to the applicant in order to make the development acceptable. The
development would not improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area and
therefore does not comprise sustainable development. The Local Planning Authority has therefore
implemented the requirement in Paragraphs 186-187 of the NPPF.”
The full deatils can be found here


New Road to be Built linking Loco works (and 1700 + new houses) to Blackrod ???

A new planning  application has been submitted by Network rail for a road to link the loco works with Station Raod. It is unclear whether the land is in the greenbelt

The design and access statement states ”  the new access in itself will not give rise to any traffic generation,”  having previously stated ” The Transport Statement submitted with this application discusses this in further detail. However, in summary this Statement demonstrated that there is sufficient capacity at the proposed access junction and wider highway network to support a 500 unit residential development on NR land (which would be in accordance with the density requirements set out in the SPD. The assessments also show that the access junction has capacity to accommodate further development at the Horwich Loco Works Site ”

 Application 89722


Pi ∏ and the enforcement notices

∏  Pi is an infinite, non-repeating decimal – meaning that every possible number combination exists somewhere in Pi.

Converted into ASCII text, somewhere in that infinite string of digits is the name of every person you will ever love, the date, time, and manner of your death, every planiing application and every enforcement notice – and the answers to all the great questions of the universe.

Converted into a bitmap, somewhere in that infinite string of digits is a pixel-perfect representation of the first thing you saw on this earth, the last thing you will see before your life leaves you, and all the moments, momentous and mundane, that will occur between those two points.

All information that has ever existed or will ever exist, the DNA of every being in the universe, EVERYTHING: all contained in the ratio of a circumference and a diameter.
Infinite (ie never ending)  is an interesting concept.

BHEAG understand a number of  residents on Nightingale Road have received letters from Bolton Council regarding potential breaches of planning condition. Despite having written in the officers report – for Wind Turbine at Douglas Valley Golf Course. -

“The applicant submits garden extensions to dwellings on Nightingale Road contained a landscape condition for the new rear boundaries and it has not been complied with and would screen the turbines. Officers consider landscaping bounds the rear boundaries in varying formats. Even if the condition has not been fulfilled, individual and cumulative landscaping has since been added by residents. Officers do not consider a breach of condition therefore expedient to pursue.”

It is our understanding that

i) Properties 42 to 62 were allowed extensions to the garden with no conditions placed on the approval (23939/84).

ii) Properties 24 & 26 (79945/08 & 79949/08) required that “details of the treatment to all boundaries to the site shall be submitted to and approved by the LPA”

iii) Properties 28 – 40  and 8  & 10 (39804/91 & 38067/90) required a hedge to be provided along the north eastern boundary, which seems to have been done.

A lost generation ?


This video was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old.   The contest was titled “u @ 50″ by AARP and the video won second place.   When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.  It is so simple and yet so brilliant.

Please take the time to watch and listen

The council says people are “fed up”

That would be Chorley council

The council says people are “fed up” that planning applications for greenfield sites are constantly being won on appeal after being refused by the authority.

Chorley Council is writing to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, asking for the Government to “stick to its word” and support the borough.

The full story can be found here Chorley Guardian


Matchmoor turbine appeal – refused

It is often difficult to understand when special circumstances outweigh the harm in the greenbelt. The appeal decision from Douglas Valley and now Matchmoor suggests the boundary is significantly further towards refusing applications than previously thought in Bolton.

The Matchmoor turbine planning inspector -J.P. Watson  BSc MICE FCIHT MCMI -   summarised -

19 “In summary, I have found that the appeal proposal would be harmful to the Green Belt by virtue of inappropriateness, limited loss of openness, and limited visual harm.  I attribute substantial weight to the harm to the Green Belt.  And I also attribute substantial weight to the risk to public safety by virtue of the effect of turbines such as this on horses.
Whether the harm is clearly outweighed by other considerations so as to amount to the very special circumstances necessary to approve the proposal 
22. I balance the benefit that the appeal proposal would bring, against the harm to the Green Belt and the risk to public safety I have identified.  I am not satisfied that the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.  Therefore the very special circumstances necessary to justify approval of this inappropriate development in the Green Belt are not found.
23 The Appellant draws attention to appeal decisions elsewhere, in which wind  turbine proposals were allowed in areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks or the Green Belt.  I am in no doubt that circumstances can arise in which wind turbines in the Green Belt can meet the test set by paragraph 88 of the Framework.  And, in the current appeal, the wider environmental benefits associated with the scheme are among the circumstances of the case.  But I do not find that those circumstances taken together are very special.  I have considered this and all other matters raised and conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”
The full decision can be found matchmoor

Community Centre Saved – but Manchester Road Still Threatened

At a rather interesting / unruly  meeting, organised by Blackrod Town Council, last night, when in the region of 150 people attended.  The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris announced that the Community Centre  - including the car park and playing fields would be removed from the LDF housing allocation – meaning it is safe for another 14 years (at least). He also  indicated that he would look at funding improvement to the centre.

The playing fields at Manchester Road however was retained in the plan – allocated for 20 homes.

It was requested that Cllr Morris visit the site -in particular to see access provisions , which are currently causing great concern to those most directly affected.


We would urge residents to submit their comments regarding Manchester Road.

Details of the allocation plan can be found here

A form to submit comments  can be found Consultation-response-form-2

Public Meeting to Discuss Proposals for Manchester Road and the Community Centre

Blackrod Town Council is to hold a public meeting in order to facilitate further discussion on the proposals to develop the Manchester Road playing field and the Community Centre, carpark and associated playing field, as identified in Bolton council’s draft allocation plan


The meeting will include an outline of the proposals to be given by an Officer from Bolton Council’s Development & Regeneration Department.

The meeting will take place at Blackrod Church School, Vicarage Road, Blackrod on

Tuesday November 27th at 7pm


Details of the allocation plan can be found here

A form to submit comments (if you have not already done so) can be found Consultation-response-form-2




Land off Bolton Road – Called in by Secretary of State

Chorley Councillors , believed they had no choice but to approve controversial plans for 170 houses on the green fields of Adlington, so they wrote to Eric Pickles – Secretary of State to ask for the application to be called in. This means the planning permission cannot be granted – until he has considered all the issues. If approved the development will have consequences across the Chorley Borough.


The Secretary of State Mr Eric Pickles has issued a holding notice on the planning application that was controversially passed for the land off Bolton Road. This means that the council cannot grant planning permission until the Secretary of State has had chance to consider it.

Councillor Dennis Edgerley is urging all residents to lobby the minister, Eric Pickles MP. The more strength of feeling on the proposed development the more chance of getting the right outcome.

This development will affect the whole of Adlinton village and onwards to Blackrod and Horwich open the flood gates for other large developments on green fields in the village.

A suggested letter can be found HERE


Public meeting to discuss threat to the Community Centre, and Blackrod’s green spaces

A public meeting has been arranged by Blackrod Council,  for 27 November , to start at 7pm at Blackrod Church School Hall – to discuss the consultation regarding The Blackrod Community Centre, associated car park, playing fields and associated changing rooms and also the playing field at Manchester Road.  Blackrod Council and all Blackrod Councillors have expressed there concerns and their strong objections to the proposals.

In  October (2011) Bolton Council released a draft plan for the whole of the Bolton Metropolitan area, which includes in addition to Blackrod the communities of Horwich, Westhoughton, Farnworth and Little Lever, plus the whole of Bolton. This plan attempts to identify unused land which can be allocated for future housing use. The  proposals inlude  Blackrod Community Centre, car park and football pitch – 39 houses and the green playing field  behind residential properties on Manchester Road.

The Community Centre and the football field, together with the car park, are used by Blackrod children and older residents on a daily basis. There is a play group in the Community Centre five days a week. There are evening classes for older residents such as keep fit and martial arts plus other functions throughout the year that will be lost should these plans go ahead.

Similarly the open play area behind Manchester Road which is used regularly by our young children for less formal activities would be lost.

On top of the problems that Blackrod currently suffer regarding the lack of play facilities we also suffer from severe lack of parking spaces and public transport. Why then would we want to lose a well used car park at the Community Centre?


In the first stage of the consultation across the whole of the Bolton Metropolitan Area, , concerns from  Blackrod  represent some 25% of all the objections for all the many other proposals Bolton-wide.

The public meeting will take place on Tuesday November 27th at 6:45 pm (for 7pm) at Blackrod Church school , Vicarage Road, Blackrod

Details of the allocation plan can be found here

A form to submit comments (if you have not already done so) can be found Consultation-response-form-2





River Douglas Walkover – postponed



Groundwork is 1 of 15 national pilots delivering a Catchment Pilot for the River Douglas in partnership with DEFRA and the EA.  The project seeks to pilot a catchment based approach to managing water quality in the Douglas catchment area.  Within this, Groundwork will be working with key local partners and DEFRA bodies, to indentify priorities for the management of water quality in the area, engage wider stakeholders and communities in the water quality agenda, and derive an inclusive catchment plan which will help indentify and prioritise interventions within the catchment.

Delivering the pilot will be  through a range of methodologies- one of which is the delivery of a River Walkover which will take place on the 8th November, with the walk starting near the source of the Douglas at the West Pennine Moors and heading downstream towards Horwich stopping at a variety of locations along the way.  It is hoped to have a mix of stakeholders, agencies and members of the public on the walkover- to achieve good collaboration and cross learning.

Groundwork are hoping to deliver further river walkover routes in the new year in partnership with the EA, so will keep your group posted about these also.

Meet Thursday 8 November at Hilton Table Tennis Club, Nuttall Avenue Horwich – lunch will be provided.

If you wish to attend please contact


Land off Bolton Road

The application to build 170 homes close to the Blackrod border will be considered by Chorley Council Tuesday 30 October at 6.30pm. This is in addition to the 76 ?? homes already in the process of being built near Adlington Railway station.

The planning officer is recommending approval.

Objection is complicated by the fact that the land has been included in proposals in the Local Development Framework – similar to Blackrod Community Centre and the Land at Manchester Road, in Blackrod.

Objectors to the Land off Bolton Road development are encouraging supporters to attend the Planning Meeting at Chorley Town Hall and have even arranged a bus.

More information can be found here

The Green Deal

The Energy Act 2011 includes provisions for the new ‘Green Deal’, which intends to reduce carbon emissions cost effectively by revolutionising  the energy efficiency of British properties.

The new innovative Green Deal financial mechanism eliminates the need to pay upfront for energy efficiency measures and instead provides reassurances that the cost of the measures should be covered by savings on the electricity bill.


A new Energy Company Obligation will integrate with the Green Deal, allowing supplier subsidy and Green Deal Finance to come together into one seamless offer to the consume

As of 2 October 2012 the legal framework for the Green Deal is in place.  This regulatory green light signals to industry that the market can now get started.

In practice it means that Green Deal providers, assessors and installers can start to become authorised, and display the Green Deal Quality Mark, and put in place their systems for delivering assessments to consumers – although consumers won’t be able to sign up to a Green Deal finance plan until 28th January 2013.

The Green Deal will remove the biggest barriers to demand for energy efficiency solutions, opening up the market for more participants and giving people more choice.

From late January, Green Deal Providers will be able to offer Green Deal plans to consumers and begin delivering energy efficiency and heating measures and go on to meet the Government’s ambitions for a major programme of national energy efficiency retrofit.

The Green Deal will empower consumers by giving them new ways of funding home improvements, and empower businesses by enabling them to compete for energy efficiency opportunities in new and innovative ways. It will boost the low carbon economy by supporting up to 60,000 jobs in the insulation sector alone by 2015, up from around 26,000 today.

The Green Deal could see British homes and businesses save enough energy to power 1 million homes in 2020.

Businesses wanting to find out about the Green Deal for the first time can find out more on the Green Deal Industry pages or contact the Green Deal Oversight & Registration Body.

More information can be found here 


If you want to see the National heatmap – click here  (Notre put filter on heat map, and put Blackrod in search box at top right hand side