Architects’ proposals celebrate history of Horwich Loco Works

Bluemantle has unveiled the heritage plans for Rivington Chase, the £262m redevelopment of the Horwich Loco Works.

Heritage and community core. Illustrative image courtesy of Cass Associates.

After extensive consultation with the local community and key stakeholders, the plans for a heritage and community core have been put forward by North West architects Cass Associates in a detailed indicative Masterplan.

The proposed plans include several initiatives to celebrate the history and heritage of the Loco Works and provide local people with a destination combining community, educational, retail, leisure, health and well-being amenities.

Two historic Loco Works buildings will be restored to their former glory under the proposal: the Millwrights shop will transform into a mix of a heritage venue, community health and well-being centre and a retail food and drink hall, and the former Pattern Makers building will be renovated into a 166-space multi-storey car park within the existing structure.

Across the 187-acre site, there will be a Rivington Chase heritage trail that allows the public to retrace the steps of the thousands of workers who passed through the Loco Works on a daily basis. The heritage trail will begin at the existing war memorial and entrance to Rivington House and adjacent Stores Buildings – two of the original Loco Works buildings. Visitors will be able to sample the offerings from the community, leisure and retail space set to be housed under the existing arches of Rivington House.

Along the trail, residents and visitors will also be able to enjoy viewpoints overlooking wildlife haven and Site of Special Interest, Red Moss.

The Open Space Illustrative proposals outline how Rivington Chase’s abundant open spaces could be maximised for use by the whole community. Other indicative proposals include: a cycle hub and track formed in a natural setting, a local equipped area of play, a natural amphitheatre formed by following existing ground slopes, potential fishing use within the reservoir with jetty points, a forest school activity area, a neighbourhood equipped area of play and the opening of a watercourse from an existing culvert with an adjacent footpath.

Proposals for Rivington Chase’s abundant open space. Image courtesy of Cass Associates.

These open spaces across the site have also been designed to incorporate elements restored from original buildings, such as the Erecting and Repair shed.

Careful consideration was taken during the dismantling of the Erecting and Repair sheds to preserve key artefacts, including the cast iron pillars once used in the building of locomotive engines, and these will now be incorporated into the proposed pocket, playground and memorial parks dotted around the site.

Plans include incorporating the Loco Works’ iconic cast irons pillars. Image courtesy of Cass Associates.

Within the heritage and community core, there will be a community plaza and landscaped memorial park, with conversations currently underway to relocate one of the remaining locomotives to the new plaza within the community core.

Mark Caldwell, managing director of Bluemantle commented on the proposals:

“Throughout the development of Rivington Chase, we have worked closely with the wider community to ensure Rivington Chase commemorates the heritage and special history of the Loco Works. I believe that these heritage and community core plans do just that, and also provide a range of amenities and open spaces to be enjoyed by the whole community and for generations to come.”

A spokesperson for Bolton Council added:

“It’s great to see the plans being put forward to keep and develop the heritage of the old Loco Works as part of the new development. This was always an important part of the plans when the council supported the site to deliver a brownfield site and attract developers.

“Horwich has a proud history as one of the major railway towns of the country and it’s important this heritage is celebrated.

“Open spaces, leisure and community services are also key to the whole development and we’re delighted that these plans highlight the area’s past history, and link it to the surrounding, natural environment by creating new public green spaces.”

Richard Roberts, director of Cass Associates said:

“The vision for the former Loco Works has at its heart the retention and repurposing of key heritage buildings and integrating these striking structures within public open space for the benefit of the community.”


If you’d like a copy of the indicative masterplan in full, please get in touch with either or