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Bolton Council Gives Green Light for Affordable Housing Development

Bolton Council have given the go-ahead to Lane End Group for an affordable housing development at Rivington Chase.

Councillors voted unanimously to grant approval for 116 residential units, providing homes for 285 local people through a combination of apartments and family houses at the 187-acre brownfield site on the former Horwich Loco Works. The site is being developed by Lane End Group for two social housing providers.

The development forms part of the heritage plans for the £262m regeneration project which will comprise of 1,700 homes alongside heritage, educational, retail, leisure, health and well-being facilities. The wider Loco Works development is being developed by Bluemantle alongside Bolton Council, Homes England, HKR, and Network Rail.

Reserved matters approval was granted for 116 units comprising of 40 one-bedroom apartments, 38 two-bedroom apartments, 9 two-bedroom houses, 19 three-bedroom houses and 10 four-bedroom houses. The four-storey apartments will be split into two blocks either side of a central corridor, while the houses are arranged in terraced blocks of four to five to recreate the appearance of the former Loco Works, first opened in 1886.

Richard Harrison, managing director at Lane End Group, said: “This decision means it is full steam ahead for our social enterprise Lane End New Beginnings, which works with not-for-profit organisations and those in need of support. We know how important the former Loco Works are to the local community, so I’m pleased that we are able to provide the area with much needed affordable homes that also commemorate the site’s iconic heritage”.

Plans were revealed last month to restore two original Loco Works buildings to their former glory. Indicative plans were put forward by Cass Associates to transform the former Millwrights shop into a mix of a heritage venue, community health and well-being centre, and a retail food and drink hall. The plans would see the former Pattern Makers building renovated into a 166-space multi-storey car park within the existing building structure and open at roof level.

The proposals also detailed the scheme’s open and green spaces including a heritage trail, cycle tracks, natural amphitheatre, forest school and a series of heritage pocket packs incorporating the giant cast-iron pillars which were once used in the building of the region’s locomotive engines.

The planning application was put forward by Lane End Group with planning support from Avison Young as planning advisor, Cass Associates as masterplan architects and Paddock Johnson as the architects behind the scheme.

Councillors voted to approve the application with conditions attached on the development to provide: adequate electric vehicle charging points, landscaping to include mature trees and ecological conditions to consider provision for bat and bird boxes.

The affordable housing development is expected to be completed by February 2024. It will be built on a phased basis and in coordination with the construction of a new link road and roundabout which will connect the site to Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich Parkway railway station, and Junction 6 of the M61.