In 2011 the Government introduced new laws to empower communities so that they could have a greater say in helping shape where they live and work through 'neighbourhood planning'.  Town councils or designated neighbourhood forums can develop a shared vision and planning policies through a neighbourhood plan. Once passed, the plan becomes part of the statutory development plan and is used to determine planning applications alongside the local plan for that area.

Communities also have the ability to grant planning permission through Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDOs). An NDO can grant planning permission for specific types of development in a specific neighbourhood area.

In Bolton, two town councils, Blackrod and Horwich, and one neighbourhood forum, Over Hulton, are preparing neighbourhood plans. They have chosen the areas to be covered by the three neighbourhood plans, which we have endorsed.

For the latest position on progress please see the links to the dedicated websites prepared by each of the areas. Please note these are third party websites and we are not responsible for content or how up to date it is.

Blackrod Neighbourhood Plan

A referendum on the Blackrod Neighbourhood Plan was held on 6 May 2021.  The result was that 1595 people voted in favour of the plan with only 145 against.  The plan came into force following its success at referendum and Bolton Council took the formal decision to “make” the plan on 23 June 2021.

The Blackrod Neighbourhood Plan now forms part of Bolton’s Development Plan and will be used in making planning decisions. The Blackrod Neighbourhood Plan is available to view from the Blackrod Neighbourhood Plan Downloads Page

Over Hulton Neighbourhood Plan

Next Stages for the Over Hulton Neighbourhood Plan

The Over Hulton Neighbourhood Forum automatically expired in December 2022, five years after having been designated. After expiry the group which previously constituted the forum applied to once again be designated as a neighbourhood forum.

On 19 February 2024 the Executive Cabinet Member for Regeneration approved the designation of the Over Hulton Neighbourhood Forum.The pincipal contact for the Over Hulton Neighbourhood Forum is Diane Parkinson who can be reached at

Documents submitted by the Over Hulton Neighbourhood Forum as part of their application to be designated can be found here: 


Area Boundaries

Area Map

Confirmation of meeting legislative requirements


Membership Demographics

Submission Letter

Prior to automatic expiry after five years, the Over Hulton Neighbourhood Forum had been progressing a neighbourhood plan for the Over Hulton area and submitted its proposed neighbourhood plan to Bolton Council. Bolton Council carried out the required publicisation under regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 from 23 November 2023 to 5 January 2024. 

On 1 May Bolton Council appointed David Kaiserman BA DipTP MRTPI to undertake an examination of the Over Hulton Neighbourhood Plan. This examination will take place over the summer of 2024. 

Over Hulton Neighbourhood Plan Examination

Examiner Question 1 (EQ1)

Examiner's letter dated 29 May 2024

Council Response dated 5 June 2024

Over Hulton Neighbourhood Forum Response undated 

Examiner Question 2 (EQ2)

Examiner's letter dated 12 June 2024