Area outside hospital gates ‘blighted by drug taking and prostitution’ as flat plans thrown out

Plans for blocks of ‘shared living’ flats close to Royal Bolton Hospital have been thrown out with opponents saying it would add to problems of ‘drug taking and prostitution’ in the area.

The application for two-four storey buildings and a three-storey block of flats to house around 106 people to be built at the land plot on Minerva Road, Farnworth, near the entrance to the NHS site, was refused by Bolton Council’s planning committee.

The format buildings was to accommodate 106 people in 18 multiple-occupancy five-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom apartments.

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A letter was received by the council from the director of finance at the hospital trust stating they did not object to the development and they would consider using the development to accommodate hospital staff.

But objections were received from 40 neighbors to the proposed development.

A previous, similar proposal was also rejected last July.

An objector, Peter Brabin told the meeting: “We don’t think this development should be built outside the hospital main entrance.

“There are already enough problems near the hospital, the police are there all day.

The plans were for ‘shared living’ apartments which could have been used by hospital staff and students

“It’s becoming a deprived area. I’ve lived in the area for 70-odd years and I’ve seen it go downhill.

“I’m also a volunteer who cleans up around the area and knows exactly what it’s like.

“This development will add nothing it will just go worse.

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“We already have problems with drug taking, gas sniffing, prostitution, harassment, fly tipping and litter.

“That’s outside the hospital gates. Would the planning committee allow a building like this in Egerton or Bromley Cross?

“No, I don’t think so, why should we have it?”

Paul Sedgwick spoke in favor of the plans on behalf of the applicant, Dorbcrest Homes Ltd.

He said: “This is a resubmitted application.

“We took account of the reason committee refused it which was primarily the appearance and the impact on residents. We’ve taken a floor off the frontage block.

“The site is previously developed land and residential development is expected for it. There are no objections from statutory consults and there is more open space.

“Previous concerns have been addressed. I believe it now merits council approval.”

The committee refused the plans on the ground that the development was out of character with the area and would have an adverse affect on the amenity of residents.

The proposed site on Minerva Road

Ward councillor Sue Haworth, said: “Residents at Kingsland Drive would have their gardens and windows overlooked by upper floor windows of the four storey blocks.

“There is concern also at Colchester Drive, Springfield Road and Silverdale Road that noise will carry widely from open windows and space within the grounds and the whole area would be changed far too much in terms of character and appearance.”

“The format buildings were to accommodate at least 106 people and there is a lot of concern about increased traffic congestion in this area.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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