Two former industrial buildings at the Horwick Locomotive Works near Bolton are to be restored and repurposed under the latest proposals for the 1,700-home scheme being delivered by Bluemantle Group.
Rivington Chase is a £2623m regeneration scheme on the at the 187-acre site of the former Loco Works, an industrial complex that first opened in 1886 and once housed the erecting shop of the former Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
Asset manager Bluemantle, alongside Bolton Council and preservation group Horwich Heritage, plan to build a total 1,700 homes, as well as community facilities, green spaces and commercial uses, under a masterplan designed by architecture studio Cass Associates and approved by the council 2015.
The first phase of 112 homes built by Bellway is now complete, and the second phase, comprising 393 units by housebuilder Morris Homes was approved last November.
As part of the latest plans, Bluemantle has unveiled a vision to restore the Millwrights shop into a mix of heritage venue, community health and wellbeing centre and a retail and food and drink hall. Meanwhile, the former Pattern Makers building will become a 166-space multistorey car park within the existing structure. The buildings are within one structure, with a partition in the centre.
In addition, other industrial artefacts at the site would be retained, including the cast iron pillars in the parks, and a ‘heritage trail’ running throughout the whole site would be created to allow visitors to retrace the steps of the thousands of workers who passed through the Loco Works at the turn of the 20th century.
The trail would begin at the existing war memorial and entrance to Rivington House and adjacent Stores Buildings – two of the original Loco Works buildings. There would be a community plaza and landscaped memorial park created along the trail, and conversations are underway to relocate one of the remaining locomotives to the new central plaza within the residential and community core of the main scheme.
A cycle hub and track, playgrounds, a natural amphitheatre, potential fishing use within the reservoir, a forest school and a watercourse cut from an existing culvert with an adjacent footpath, are also mooted.
The development partners are working with other key landowners at the site, including Network Rail, Homes England and HKR Enterprises, but the plans are being overseen by Bolton Council.
The proposals for the heritage aspects of Rivington Chase follow extensive consultation with the local community, Bluemantle said.
The group’s managing director Mark Caldwell said: “Throughout the development of Rivington Chase, we have worked closely with the wider community to ensure Rivington Chase commemorates the heritage and special history of the Loco Works.
“I believe these heritage and community core plans do just that and also provide a range of amenities and open spaces to be enjoyed by the whole community and for generations to come.”
A spokesperson for Bolton Council added: “Horwich has a proud history as one of the major railway towns of the country and it’s important this heritage is celebrated.
“This was always an important part of the plans when the council supported the site to deliver a brownfield site and attract developers.”
Planning permission was granted in 2019 for a £12m link road, which will connect the site up to Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich Parkway Railway Station and Junction 6 of the M61.