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KEY PHASE: Decision on 205 new homes for Horwich Loco site

KEY PHASE: Decision on 205 new homes for Horwich Loco site

Horwich Loco Spine Road, Image: LDRS

Plans for 205 new homes and the partial construction of a new spine road through the former Horwich Loco works site are set to be decided on this week.

Bolton Council’s planning committee are set to debate Bellway Homes proposals for a key phase of the Rivington Chase development at a special meeting on Wednesday, October 27.

The council’s own drainage department have objected to the plans saying drainage would be delivered independently from the wider development, rather than from a site wide scheme envisaged when outline planning approval was granted.

However, developers Bellway say ‘time constraints’ with the project mean using an existing central culvert, which currently receives water from the legacy Loco Works, will provide adequate drainage for the new homes and spine road.

The plans to be decided on this week are for 10 homes on the temporary buffer land within the Bellway’s existing Barton Quarter development and 195 homes for the next phase of  Rivington Chase.

An officer’s report to be put before councillors this week said that failure to approve the spine road element of the plans could jeopardise a massive amount of the whole Rivington Chase development.

It states: “The northern section of the development is within the Horwich Locomotive Works conservation area and the southern section is with the ‘Moss Overlook’ area.

“Following a recent meeting with Natural England and Lancashire Wildlife Trust to discuss the proposed development’s potential impact on the nearby Red Moss, officers are confident that Natural England’s holding objection will be withdrawn before the committee meeting.

“The applicant is proposing to deliver a substantial section of the spine road through the Rivington Chase development.

“Without the delivery of this, the spine road cannot be delivered within budget.

“The non-delivery of the spine road would jeopardise the strategic redevelopment of Rivington Chase, potentially removing around 800 homes from the council’s housing supply.

“It is therefore critical that the western section of the spine road is delivered in a timely manner, which the approval of this application would ensure.”

The section of spine road would be built between the Barton Quarter and Lane End developments and end just before the ‘Armstrong access roundabout’, to the east of the application site.

It would also include the ‘Rivington House access roundabout’.

Horwich Town Council have objected to the plans saying that Bellway should ‘stick to the original masterplan’.

Other objections, including from the group Horwich Heritage, state that the housing ‘lacks flair and imagination’, lacks green space, disregards the historical significance of the site and that the developer has maximised the number of units on the site rather than achieving any sense of place.

The officer’s report recommends approval of the scheme despite ‘shortcomings’ that it does not ‘fully adhere with the core design principles set out in the approved design and access statement’ for Rivington Chase and concerns over surface drainage.

The report concludes: “It is considered that the public benefits associated with the proposed development outweigh the less-than-substantial harm on the significance of the conservation area.”


Words: Chris Gee, Local Democracy Reporter

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