A £12m link road in Horwich, part of the £262m Rivington Chase regeneration site, has been given the go-ahead by Bolton Council during its planning committee meeting on Thursday 29th August.
The link road will connect Horwich Town centre and Chorley New Road to Middlebrook retail park, Horwich railway station, and the M61 via the new Rivington Chase development.
The road is seen as a critical part of the former Horwich Loco Works regeneration scheme. It will unlock the site, enable better access, and relieve pressure on other roads. The £12 million grant was secured earlier this year from Homes England, and the project will now proceed to its next stages.
Alongside the link road there will be extensive open spaces for residents of Rivington Space and Horwich to enjoy, including cycle paths, footpaths and green spaces.
The 150-acre Rivington Chase housing development, led by property developer Bluemantle, was approved for planning in 2015. It comprises 1,700 houses, as well as employment, leisure, retail, and green space. The development will deliver a range of much needed houses on brownfield sites, directly meeting the housing needs of Horwich and the nearby areas, and helping to address the national shortage of housing.
The link road is a crucial part of the development’s success, required to unlock the site and integrate it fully into the surrounding infrastructure.
Expected to be fully operational by 2021, the road itself will provide the area with vital infrastructure, taking pressure off congested roads and addressing local concerns about traffic density, particularly on Chorley New Road. Furthermore, there will be extensive open spaces along the length of the road, including cycle paths, dedicated footpaths, and green spaces. This is representative of the development’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents, bringing previously inaccessible open spaces to life.
The development of the site will bring substantial financial investment into the Horwich area, generating up to 1,500 jobs on site and another 320 during construction. The new population could spend upwards of £80 million a year on local goods and services, creating another 200 jobs in the process. New land will also give local businesses the opportunity to expand, and offer attractive opportunities for investors.
Given the heritage of the site on the former Horwich Loco Works, a planning condition has been agreed that seeks to re-use or recycle elements of historical value from the Erecting Shed’s interior; this will either be done on site or off-site at an appropriate location, such as a local heritage railway organisation. Moving forward, the development team is keen to continue working with local residents and heritage groups to preserve and present Horwich’s history in an engaging way.
The development is being undertaken by Bluemantle, a property development group based in the North West. Their chief executive, Mark Caldwell, says:
“This is a huge leap forward for the Rivington Chase site and the link road will help realise the ambition to deliver the rest of the masterplan. This regeneration project is turning dilapidated brownfield land into much needed homes, alongside retail, business, leisure and green space for the whole community to enjoy. Sites like this as key in helping to protect Horwich and Bolton’s greenbelt from overdevelopment.
Alongside this, the link road will help ease congestion in and around the area and improve the infrastructure for the whole of Horwich and wider areas.”
Following the decision, Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Martyn Cox, commented:
“This link road stands to benefit the whole community, and will make Horwich a fantastic place to live and work. We have listened to resident concerns about access to the site and this link road not only improves traffic flow and infrastructure across the area, it also provides cycle lanes, dedicated footpaths and open spaces for the community.”
The planning application was a joint application made by Alpha Investments NW and Bolton Council with planning support from Avison Young, Cass Associates and RPS Group. The development is led by Bluemantle and the other key landowners are Network Rail, Homes England, Bolton Council and HKR Ltd. Bolton Council is overseeing the whole Rivington Chase scheme, and ensuring that each development adheres to the masterplan and is delivered accordingly.
Planning permission was granted on Thursday 29th August after a deferral at the meeting on 22nd August following a request to Bolton Highways and Engineering department for more information. After confirmation that no alternative routes were viable, planning was granted subject to several conditions, including the remediation, environmental and heritage aspects of the site. A planning condition has been agreed to preserve the historically valuable items in the Erecting Shed’s interior; this will either be done on site or off-site at an appropriate location, such as a local heritage railway organisation.
"This link road stands to benefit the whole community, and will make Horwich a fantastic place to live and work."
Cllr Martyn Cox
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