D-Day for huge ‘new town’ plans at Horwich Loco Works
September 11th, 2014|
D-DAY has arrived for a proposed “new town” of 1,700 homes — amid fierce opposition from Horwich residents and its MP.
Councillors will be at Bolton Town Hall today for an extraordinary meeting of the planning committee to discuss plans for the huge housing development at the former Horwich Loco Works.
Developers Horwich Vision submitted the plans — to be known as Rivington Chase — which include 20 acres of employment land and 50 acres of open space.
Although recommended for approval, and subject to a final sign-off by the head of development and regeneration at Bolton Council, Bolton West MP Julie Hilling has now urged councillors to defer the decision so the plans can include more sporting facilities.
A planning officer’s report said there was “no need” for sports pitches within the scheme and a single pitch could cost developers £1.6 million — but Ms Hilling insisted that they have their priorities wrong.
She said: “I am extremely disappointed that the report specifies there will be no plans for sporting facilities.
“The developers said they would like to leave a lasting legacy in their plans for the Loco-works site.
“They have an opportunity to do this by providing sporting facilities to the people or Horwich.
“I feel that the developers are putting economic values before providing a long lasting legacy for a town proud of its sporting traditions.”
Marie Brady is set to speak at today’s planning committee on behalf of the Horwich Loco Works Action Group, a collection of local residents also calling for deferment.
In a statement she said the group was not opposed to the development but had “real concerns” about the implications on highways and the amount Horwich Vision will provide towards education and health provision in the area.
She said: “On top of all this, we have the ‘black hole’ of contamination.
“There have only been provisional studies so far but the Environment Agency statement that the whole site is categorised as ‘medium to high risk’ with carcinogenic asbestos at the top of the list is a chilling reminder of what is in store.
“To safeguard the council and community’s position, members should defer this application and ask officers to resolve the issues highlighted above.”
The meeting starts at 2pm and is open to the public. Follow our live coverage online.
Planning officers said that, if approved, conditions would see Horwich Vision committed to more “intrusive” investigations of the Loco Works to work out the scale of the asbestos.
Builders carrying out initial works will also have to be protected by certain criteria while working on the earth and a dedicated on-site contamination specialist and fibre and dust management plan will have to be put in place.