THE site of a former hotel in Horwich set to house two new apartment blocks has become an “eyesore” and attracted vandals, according to angry residents.
Property developer Redrow demolished Swallowfield Hotel in Chorley New Road in 2007 but has since delayed building the apartments.
Since then the site has become a wasteland, neighbours claim, with illegally dumped rubbish, a smashed perimeter fence and traveller groups living on the land among their gripes.
Permission to develop the site into 42 apartments was granted to the hotel’s owners more than six years ago but the land has been left vacant.
The plan seems set to go ahead, with Redrow submitting a fresh application in December last year to overturn a five-year-old agreement to make four of the apartments social housing.
Redrow stand to make an extra £160,000 in revenue if Bolton Council agrees to the change, which has been deferred to a planning director by councillors, and a decision is expected by March 23.
Redrow conceded the site suffers from trespass and vandalism, but insisted it is monitored.
A spokesman also voiced disappointment that an agreement to proceed has not yet been reached with the council.
Ken Bamford, who lives in Ainsworth Avenue, opposite the side of the hotel site, said the abandoned land has deterred people from buying his house.
Mr Bamford added: “People are leaving loads of rubbish on the site and it is an eyesore.
“We’re selling our house at the moment and a woman has told the estate agent that she would buy it if it wasn’t for the site opposite looking it does.
“If I see rubbish on the lawn outside my house I would always clear it up and I have considered going over there but it is too much for me to clear up on my own.”
Charlotte Bovill, who has lived in her Ainsworth Avenue house for 10 years, added: “It has been like that for years now, I’ve become quite used to it.
“Kids go on in the evenings and we’ve even had travellers here.
“There was once even a man asleep in the little kennel which has been left on there.
“It has become a wasteland.”
A Redrow spokesman said: “We are willing to engage with councillors to explain the reasons why the scheme has been stalled for the past six years.
“We do monitor the site and repair the fences but we appreciate it does occasionally suffer from trespass and vandalism.
“Hopefully an agreement can be reached quickly which will allow the development to proceed as planned.”
l We have been asked to clarify that Cllr Richard Sylvester and Cllr Kevin McKeon have not had any direct contact with Redrow Homes in relation to this application.