DEVELOPERS say they have already lost £1.7 million on a mothballed site in Horwich - before building work has even started.

Redrow Homes is battling with Bolton Council to allow the firm to keep four of the proposed 42 flats set to be built at the former Swallowfield Hotel in Chorley New Road.

In a previous agreement in 2007, Redrow had agreed these four homes would be transferred to a social housing provider.

The group received planning permission in 2008 to build two three-storey apartment blocks, but had to abandon the scheme because of the economic crash.

Now, after months of wrangling with the council, Redrow say they will make a loss on the development, even if they do not hand over the four affordable units.

The firm has already written off £1.7 million. After meeting with planning officers, the company now says it wants wants to “get off the site” as soon as possible — and has offered a final sum of £50,000 towards affordable housing elsewhere.

In January, councillors rejected changing the condition, arguing that the economic recovery made it possible for Redrow to provide the affordable homes.

But in her report to the planning committee, which meets on Thursday, officer Helen Williams said house prices for apartments in Horwich are down around 20 per cent from 2007 and recommended councillors accept the new deal.

She added: “As Redrow are keen to start development on the site again and to ‘get off the site’ as soon as possible due to the costs incurred and being incurred, they are now offering an increased sum of £50,000 towards off-site affordable housing provision, rather than the £30,000 they offered in March.

“They maintain this is their final and highest possible offer, as any further contribution would eat further into their losses.”

If accepted, another grant of £10,000 will also be provided by Redrow for highways improvements.