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Introduction to Area

Across the UK, town centres are facing challenges to their future vitality and viability.  Many town centres are suffering from falling retail sales, reduced footfall, rising vacancies and high maintenance costs.  Town centres need to become places that offer more diverse attractions providing a range of different activities and uses such as shops, housing, leisure, vibrant food and drink offers, social and community hubs and commercial and cultural enterprises, all of which should be designed to function as intergenerational spaces.

In response to the challenges facing Bolton’s town centres, the Council has adopted a three-pronged regeneration strategy to (i) masterplan, (ii) intervene directly and (iii) leverage private investment. The Council approved in 2019 a £16m budget to support the delivery of town centre strategies, in Farnworth, Westhoughton, Horwich and Little Lever, which aims to sustain the immediate future of the town centres to the benefit of the wider Borough and its residents. The funding will be used to target interventions in the four areas which will have the greatest impact.

Development of the Masterplan

BDP and their team of Consultants were appointed in October 2019 to develop a masterplan for Westhoughton that reflects the Bolton Vision 2030 of “creating a vibrant place, built on strong cohesive communities, successful business and healthy residents ensuring it is a welcoming place where people choose to study, work and put down roots”. The masterplans will be developed in partnership with key stakeholders and in consultation with the public.


BDP and their team of Consultants, in consultation with members of the Westhoughton town centre Steering Group and key stakeholders in the area, have developed a draft masterplan including a number of key development proposals for Westhoughton town centre.

The draft masterplan and key development proposals went out to public consultation at the start of 2020 where anyone with an interest in the future of Westhoughton town centre was given the opportunity to read the draft proposals and to feedback their views through a questionnaires at drop in sessions and online. The consultation period closed on Sunday 23rd February 2020.

The outcome of the public consultation will feed into the development of the final masterplan for Cabinet approval in Summer 2020.

Westhoughton Town Centre Masterplan 

Westhoughton Town Centre Masterplan Proposals


Following completion of the masterplan for Westhoughton a town centre strategy will be developed by Bolton Council that will include target interventions, masterplan framework and economic benefits. An action plan with appropriate priorities, output measures and indicators will be developed enabling annual monitoring and review reports overseen by the Director of Place and Assistant Director of Economic Development and Regeneration and members of the Westhoughton town centre Steering Group.


On the 21st January 2019 Cabinet approved a £12m allocation of funding from the £100m Town Centre Strategy Fund to be create strategies and masterplans in consultation with the local community and support targeted intervention in Farnworth, Horwich, Westhoughton and Little Lever town centres where they will ultimately attract private sector investment and secure development proposals.

On the 20th February 2019 Full Council approved an additional £4m of funding from the 2019/20 Capital Programme for further investment in district centres, totalling £16m across all the district centres. The level of funding given to any town centre will depend on the overall content and quality of the strategy and masterplan and the level of support needed to initiate development.

Development Principles


Lifestyle and Community – Provide facilities that encourage a thriving day and night-time economy and look to diversify, add value to, and complement the existing offer. Making best use of community assets and building on established social and community groups, including linking new models of events space to meet the needs of residents and improve access.     

Housing – Provision of good quality housing in attractive environments. Provide an affordable housing offer for all and utilise brownfield sites within the town centre focusing on opportunities to commute into Manchester/Bolton, with facilities on hand.

Transport. – Improving the public realm of Library Street, Marsden Street and the pedestrian link to the town centre market car park from Market Street and from Library Street to Central Park. These routes will be made more pedestrian friendly, through public realm, lighting and shop frontage improvements