Horwich hotel site will stay derelict as planning committee refuses to drop 'affordable' housing clause
A DERELICT site in Horwich will stay that way — after councillors refused to revoke a condition forcing the developers to offer four units as affordable housing.
The old Swallowfield Hotel in Chorley New Road has remained untouched since 2008, after Redrow said it had run out of money to complete the proposed apartment block.
At yesterday’s planning meeting councillors considered an app-ication to change a five-year-old agreement which said four of the 42 flats would have to be given to a housing association.
Redrow argued that unless the condition was changed it was not worth their while completing the development — as they would lose out on a potential £160,000 of sales revenue.
Officers recommended that the application be approved — but Cllr Nick Peel led the calls for it to be rejected.
He said: “If they had come back after a year or couple of years with these types of reasons, there may have been quite a lot of weight to it.
“It’s now been six years on, and it really does change the aspect of this.
“We have been told by central government that the economy has turned a corner and is on the up.
“I think a much better way to move forward with this application is to ask planning officers to enter into negotiations with the developers, to look into other possible solutions.”
Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, backed refusing the application.
He said: “My biggest worry is that we are setting a precedent.
“These conditions are put on for a reason, and we can’t keep taking conditions off — or in the future. We won’t have a leg to stand on.”
Planning permission for the original proposal still stands.
If built, the modern apartment block will stretch across two buildings, each with three storeys. The site will include a 52-space car park.
As part of the original application Redrow agreed to pay £12,615 to provide new primary school places in Horwich and £10,000 towards public art on the site and roadworks on Ainsworth Avenue.
The developer has deferred paying these sums until work starts on the site.
Planning officers will now speak with Redrow to find a way forward for the scheme.
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