The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has bought a 27.2-acre site, part of the Horwich Loco Works complex (pictured), for residential development.

The organisation has brokered a deal to purchase the site on Chorley New Road in Horwich from the Armstrong Group. It is intended that the plot will eventually be redeveloped for new homes as part of the Rivington Chase masterplan, which was granted planning consent in September 2015.

The masterplan involves the transformation of the 84-acre former Horwich Loco Works site through the delivery of more than 1,700 new homes alongside a school and commercial uses.

Deborah McLaughlin, executive director for the North West of the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “We have been working closely over the last six months with both the landowner and the council to build a strong relationship and agree a plan for the site.

“The site is a key component of the Rivington Chase masterplan and so it’s great news that we’ve been able to reach a deal to acquire it. Our acquisition will provide certainty for the wider redevelopment of the area and eventually see the delivery of over 400 new homes.”

The deal will enable Armstrong to remain on the site for a period up to three years in order for the area to be cleared in preparation for redevelopment.

A spokesman for the Armstrong Group said: “Since ceasing to operate our waste management company in May 2015 to concentrate solely on our other businesses and our future planned expansion, the HCA has presented us with an opportunity to sell the site.

“This has also given us the time to wind down the existing operation and safeguard the jobs of the 50 people who are employed here. The HCA has worked closely with us to arrive at a commercial solution and we fully support all parties involved in the redevelopment.”

The HCA will now work with all partners including the Armstrong Group, Bolton Council, Horwich Vision (a joint venture between Bluemantle and Emerson Group) and other landowners to bring the Rivington Chase development forward.

Bolton Council executive cabinet member for regeneration Ebrahim Adia said: “This is great news for the people of Horwich and I think they will welcome it.

“We have been working with our partners to facilitate the sale of the site for some time now, and this deal demonstrates a real commitment to Horwich and the Rivington Chase masterplan.”