Bluemantle/Orbit revive Horwich Loco hopes

Landowner Bluemantle and developer Orbit have appointed a design team led by HOW Planning to produce plans for the former Horwich Loco Works in Bolton.

HOW Planning will work with masterplanners CASS Associates of Liverpool and transport experts JMP based in Manchester.

The 180-acre site is identified in Bolton's Core Strategy document for major residential and employment development with potential for up to 1,600 new homes, offices and other employment opportunities. There will also be public open space and supporting infrastructure, including a new link road, if the project is completed.

The plans by the Bluemantle and Orbit joint venture, known as Horwich Vision, are due to be formally examined by an inspector at a public inquiry during the summer.

Gary Halman, Partner at HOW Planning, comments: "The identification of the former Horwich Loco Works as a strategic site in the Core Strategy is an important step in the regeneration of this significant brownfield redevelopment opportunity. We will also be looking to respect the heritage of the site and the important role that it has played in the development of Horwich over the last century."

The locomotive works closed its doors in 1983. Since then parts of the site have been used for an industrial estate whilst the remainder comprises large areas of open storage land and unused former railway sidings.

Mark Caldwell of Bluemantle said: "Bluemantle acquired Horwich Loco Works almost 10 years ago as a medium to long term redevelopment opportunity. Since then we have worked closely with Bolton Council and other local stakeholders culminating in the site being identified as a "strategic site" in the Council's Core Strategy.

"The site represents one of the largest brownfield redevelopment opportunities in the North of England and as with all schemes of this scale it comes with its fair share of challenges."

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