A LANDMARK pub, which has become a target for arsonists since it closed, has been repossessed.

Bolton Council granted developers planning permission to build 13 homes and three commercial units on the site of the Greenwood Arms in Chorley New Road, Horwich.

The pub, which opened in 1899 had become derelict since it closed in August, 2011, and been repeatedly targeted by arsonists and vandals.

Now, signs saying possession of the building has been taken by the mortgagee, have been plastered all over the pub.

It is not yet known what impact the latest development in a long-running saga will have on the site.

Roy Greenhalgh, of the Greenwood Action Group, said: “We don’t know what is happening now, it is just ridiculous. We have always wanted it to be another pub or a medical centre. We don’t need more houses — 1,600 are being built at Horwich Loco Works.”

A planning inspector approved plans to bulldoze the pub to make way for homes, including flats, and commercial units, including apartments and shops, after an appeal last December — despite proposals being refused three times by Bolton Council. The action group, set up by local residents, had launched a campaign to save the historic building from demolition and to see it returned to its former glory.

A sign saying possession has been taken by the mortgagee with a mobile number to call for more details.

When The Bolton News rang this number the man who answered refused to say who he was and to call back in three or four weeks.

The owner of the pub also refused to comment on the situation.

Paul Sedgwick, principal of Sedgwick Associates, the applicant’s planning consultant, said the position is complex, but he was contracted to get planning permission and has no dealings with what happens now.

A council spokesman said: “The mortgagee taking possession of the site does not affect the planning permission as permission goes with the land, not the applicant.”

In just one week last year, three fires were deliberately started in the pub, including one which took 25 firefighters three hours to extinguish and which gutted the inside of the building.