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Community invited to have a say on heritage preservation at former Horwich Loco Works

The former Loco Works is the site for the new 1,700 house development.

Horwich residents have an opportunity to submit ideas and comments on how the area’s heritage will be commemorated by the new Rivington Chase development.

Situated on the site of the former Horwich Loco Works, Rivington Chase is a £200m regeneration scheme that will create 1700 new homes, plus jobs, community facilities, and open, green spaces for Horwich.

A key aspect of Rivington Chase is how it will recognise and celebrate the area’s past. Local residents are being encouraged to put forward their suggestions and ideas to preserve that heritage. Ideas could include sugestions for public art displays, roads named after key elements of the Loco Works and a heritage trail that could be established across the site.

This will then be passed onto the next meeting of the Horwich Loco Works Liaison Committee.

Historically, many of the people of Horwich were employed at the Loco Works, which closed in 1983, including the now dilapidated Erecting and Repair Shop building where steam trains were once built.

Various options have been explored for this location, and plans for a new link road to run alongside the Heritage Core have been submitted to the Council. An independent report on the viability of the Erecting and Repair shop concluded that the building is no longer viable, and there is a deficit of over £12m to bring it up to modern building standards, for which there is no grant funding. This, alongside ground conditions and considerable ecological and scientific concerns about the close proximity of the Red Moss site of scientific and biological importance, unfortunately require the building to be dismantled.

The Heritage Core area of Rivington Chase will house high-quality public space to form the heart of the new neighbourhood, the commemorative aspect of which will be shaped in part by the input of Horwich residents, as well as residential, retail and employment space.

This proposed £12m road will link Rivington Chase with Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich Railway Station, and the M61. It is expected that the road will significantly improve traffic flow in and around Horwich, reducing congestion. It will sit alongside cycle paths and footpaths. The road is a crucial part of the scheme, as it is necessary for the development of homes for local people, as well as for providing the community with access to retail, leisure and green space. Without the road and houses on the brownfield site, Horwich greenbelt land will be in danger of over development. The link road has been carefully designed to follow the best route on the site.

Rivington Chase has been developed in collaboration by the key landowners of the site: Bluemantle, Network Rail, Homes England, and HKR Ltd, and overseen by Bolton Council.

Mark Caldwell, Chief Executive of Bluemantle, commented: “Rivington Chase has already started to deliver much needed housing on a brownfield site. This site is critical in helping protect greenfield and greenbelt land from overdevelopment in Horwich and across the wider Bolton area.

Alongside this it will create job opportunities, community spaces, and increased investment in local education, healthcare, and amenities. Providing access to this will be the proposed new link road, and at the heart will be the Heritage Core.”

“All of the partners have been working incredibly hard on Rivington Chase behind the scenes for years, and the historical element of the site has been key to those plans. We’re excited to now open up these widespread consultations to the people of Horwich, as we know that many local people still have a close connection with the history of the site, and will be just as keen as us to honour that heritage. We welcome all suggestions and ideas that are put forward.”

Following the ongoing, extensive consultations and feedback from the community, work on the new Heritage Core is expected to begin in early to mid 2020, subject to planning permissions.

The planning application for the link road is to be heard at Bolton Council’s planning committee on 22nd August. A planning condition has been agreed to recommend the reuse or recycling of elements of the Erecting and Repair Shop that possess historical interest, either on site or off site at an appropriate location such as a local heritage railway organisation.

Any ideas or suggestions should be submitted via the Rivington Chase website.