Lancashire bolt 'debate'

So here's another update in the life of a punter...
The weather has been cracking recently and I've been trying to take as much advantage of that as possible.
But first, let's talk about bolts.
Bolts are all over the quarries, I don't think there is a popular quarry without them, not to mention pegs, which are even more prevalent. The bolts tend to appear on the more futuristic or harder routes, but not exclusively, a lot having been placed in the 80s and 90s, when the climbs were too bold or too unprotectable to envisage in their natural state.
Take Pritchards 'Suspended in Cryonics' E5 6c in Wilton 4 - a relatively hidden wall in a relatively under-used quarry, but a superb looking vertical 10 metre ish climb on small edges with no possibility of protection, and from the crux you're likely to be taking a serious fall. This was climbed in 1986, before the use (invention?) of bouldering mats. Altogether a serious proposition even with several mats.
You could say that the climb should only have been done when standards were such that it was justifiable to climb without protection, or only if the climber were bold and strong enough, but there again, Paul Pritchard was hardly a stranger to hard climbing, the route next door - Mort Subite being testament to that. (Incidentally this route is protectable, albeit tenuously with RPs in a minute crack below the crux).

So, when was the precedent set? 1980s?1970s? When did someone first think that it was OK to drill a bolt into a Lancashire quarry in the name of protection? I'd love to know the actual answer to this question.
The debate, however, isn't quite as black and white as people like to think. The trad ethic in Lancashire is strong, but clearly the culture has not always been exclusively anti-bolt, with bolts being placed on many climbs in Lancashire, even on VS routes (Complete Streaker at Denham being an example), yet it's such a divisive topic that it is sure to bring people out of the woodwork, and so the scene was set for the 2014 BMC Lancashire Bolt debate.Up until recently the policy has been as follows:

(1) Bolts should only be used on specific crags where local climbers accept their use.
(2) Bolts should only be used where other runner placements are impossible or impracticable.
(3) Existing routes should not be retrobolted.
(4) Bolts should not be placed within clipping distance of existing routes.

The meeting didn't end up being the meeting I was expecting. Well attended, yes, but not the furore I had been anticipating. The meeting was chaired by Harold and Nick, and the agenda quickly worked through one or two outstanding issues unrelated to bolting before tackling the main topic everyone was there to discuss.
There was a discussion on the various proposals for bolts in Lancashire which ranged from retro-bolting climbs in Lester Mill, placing lower-offs in Anglezarke (Coal Measures crag), placing lower-offs in Lester Mill, or none of the above.
Irrespective of the debate, the job of the BMC should be one of impartiality, it being the representative of climbers, so I was dismayed by the tone of the BMC blurb advertising the meeting:

"Since the last vote went narrowly against the use of bolts at Lester Mill, the quarry has been completely or almost completely ignored by trad climbers. Consequently the case for restraining bolting now seems much weaker because the only outcome of the last vote was the negative one of denying access by sport climbers rather than the positive one of preserving it for trad climbers."

Was this really the accent the BMC intended or was it a cynical attempt to create controversy in order to increase attendance at the meeting?
This pro-bolting tone seemed to continue into the meeting itself. Rather than erring on the side of preserving the trad ethic that has persisted in Lancashire since the 60s the emphasis felt more like 'where should we bolt first?'.
There were some fervent arguments for bolt protecting some routes in Lester Mill, mainly centred around the "fact" that people don't climb the trad routes there. The argument just didn't stack up. The best someone could come up with was that they have walked past the quarry on a monthly basis for the last few years and never seen anyone. Luckily, there were also climbers that have recently climbed on Evil Wall who made their voices heard.
So after this relatively brief discussion, there was a break for food, and then immediately after, there was a vote. The debate hadn't really got going to any extent. There was not enough time to discuss fully what is for the North West a massively controversial issue.
The outcome of the vote was:

  1. Bolted lower-offs to be placed on Coal Measures crag
  2. Bolted lower-offs to be placed on Evil Wall, Lester Mill
  3. no other retro-bolting
It apparantly has previously been agreed that pegs can be replaced with a bolt if peg replacement is not possible or will not last long, (i.e. water course). 
I can understand replacing the chain on Coal Measures crag with fixed lower offs as the top out situation here is a death trap and even with a rope hanging down it's extremely difficult to arrange a safe exit, but it strikes me as nonsensical to place lower offs at Lester Mill, which has top outs no more difficult than any other standard Lancs quarry. It's a fact that you expect to be pulling on heather and roots in some of the quarries and negotiating steep slopes ,  but this is what adds to the overall experience of adventure climbing in Lancashire. It's part of the deal, this isn't Manchester Climbing Centre after all.

Bolts seem to be appearing more and more on the crags whether that be in the form of lower offs or on the routes themselves. Bolts have had to be removed on White Slabs Bunt recently, a classic 3 star route in Wilton 1. 
This needs to be kept in check lest the trad ethic that has persisted in Lancashire for so long is undermined.