A Morrisons store is to open on the site of the former Greenwood Arms pub in Horwich.

The Morrisons M Local shop will open at the beginning of next year and will create 20 jobs for local people, says the retail giant.

The Greenwood Arms, in Chorley New Road, has been derelict since it closed in 2011.

The community launched a campaign to save the landmark building.

The site has been the subject of several failed planning applications in the past for permission to build retail units and apartments, as well as a housing development on the pub’s former bowling green at the rear.

In 2012, after Bolton Council’s planning committee rejected applications for retail units and flats, as well as refusing plans for 13 houses on the bowling green land, an appeal for both decisions to be reversed was upheld by a government planning inspector, despite continued protests from camp- aigners.

The building was targeted in suspected arson attacks in 2012 and has remained in a damaged state since.

But a renewed application was submitted by developers Barnfield Real Estate Partnership Ltd for minor changes to the plans.

Morrisons has now confirmed an M Local store will be opening on the site next year.

Laura Stubbs from Morrisons said: “We’re excited to be bringing a Morrisons M local to Horwich and are proud to be creating 20 new jobs for local people.

“Fresh food will be at the heart of what we’ll sell and our team will work hard to make the store a positive addition in the Horwich community.”

She also confirmed that Morrisons had already been granted a liquor licence to sell beers, wines and spirits on the site.

Horwich Town Council leader Kevin McKeon said: “It is a great regret to many, including myself, that the Greenwood could not stay open as a pub, but we have to accept reality.

“It has been an eyesore for some time and so it is a relief that something is going to happen.

“I am very happy Morrisons will be opening on the site and even happier that they will be providing jobs for local people – they have also consulted local councillors.

“This is a happy outcome to an unfortunate situation.”