Bolton resolves to approve 1,700-home community at former locomotive works

Out-Law News | 16 Sep 2014 | 4:57 pm | 1 min. read

Bolton Council's planning committee has resolved to approve developer Horwich Vision's plans for the mixed-use redevelopment of the site of a former locomotive works in west Bolton into a new community with 1,700 homes.

The developer submitted a hybrid application in January, requesting outline permission for its overall masterplan and full permission for the initial phases of development at a site surrounding and including the former Horwich Locomotive Works.

The site was allocated in the Council's core strategy in 2011 as a strategic site for the development of "a sustainable mixed use community primarily for employment and housing" and was the subject of a supplementary planning document (SPD) (47-page / 239 KB PDF) with a stated aim "to secure the renaissance of the former Horwich Locomotive Works strategic site as a high quality, sustainable and vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood".

The masterplan proposes up to 1,700 homes in the northern and eastern parts of the site and more than 17,500 square metres of employment space in the south eastern area, with 20 hectares of open space including ponds, watercourses, play areas and amenity space planned along the northern and western edges.

Full planning permission was requested for access to the site, the demolition or change of use of existing buildings at its core and the development of 17,705 sq m of mixed-use space for shops, offices, restaurants and cafes, a 100-bed hotel, community facilities, a market place, as well as assembly and leisure facilities.

The site incorporates the Former Horwich Locomotive Works Conservation Area, which includes 14 "buildings of significance". Only four of the buildings, including a Grade II-listed war memorial, would be retained, under the plans, for the purpose of preserving a "heritage core" at the site.

A planning officer's report to the Council's planning committee said that, while the proposals to demolish the remaining buildings "fully accord" with the SPD for the site, their loss would cause "substantial harm" to conservation area and that it was therefore "necessary to consider whether the public benefits derived from the proposed scheme would be sufficient to outweigh the considerable weight given against granting planning permission".

Recommending the plans for approval, the officer had concluded that the harm caused by the demolition of poorly maintained buildings, with little historical significance and no viable long-term uses, was outweighed by the benefits of providing a new community with a large number of homes, employment, leisure, community and health facilities and accessible open space.

At a special meeting on 11 September, the Council's planning committee voted to forward the plans to the director of development and regeneration for approval.

Development is expected to proceed in 26 phases, with delivery over a maximum of 16 years.