Nice post PB, it’s good that you have Westhoughton as-it-was rather than as-it-is in your head.
I am originally from Higher Ince, but moved to Howfen in 1972 when we got married and where we have lived since.
We live on the lane that connects Dobb Brow with Hindley Rd.
The area has changed massively since we arrived, we had fields at the back of our house, which is now a big estate of hundreds of houses, and that applies to other parts of Howfen, it has been overdeveloped.
They are currently building between St Bart’s Church and Westhoughton golf club, hundreds of homes, with no new roads being built, so the existing infrastructure has to try and cope.
There is a massive estate planned for on the Hulton Estate at Four Lane Ends and also at the old dog track near Hart Common/Marsh Brook, it will be an absolute nightmare.
We are going to monitor things for the near future and see how things pan out.
Being in our early seventies it might be a good time to move and downsize.