DEVELOPERS of an abandoned building site in Horwich have launched an appeal against a planning committee decision in a row over affordable housing.
Redrow Homes has appealed to the government to judge whether it should be allowed to give £50,000 to Bolton Council towards affordable housing — instead of handing over four of 42 planned flats at its development at the former Swallowfield Hotel site.
Without changing the condition, the firm argued, it was not financially viable to complete its work on the site off Chorley New Road.
Councillors on the planning committee had rejected the proposal, saying that the company should honour the agreement made in 2007, ignoring Redrow’s claims that it had already lost £1.7 million on the site.
In an application submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, Redrow said, if backed by the government, it could complete the development by the end of 2015.
The firm abandoned work on the site in 2008 after the collapse of the housing market and it has remained empty ever since.
Officers warned councillors at the June committee meeting that Redrow will probably succeed in its application, and the decision would have a knock-on impact on other aspects of the Section 106 agreement — a protocol in which developers have to pay certain levies to benefit the local community.
Planning officer Helen Williams wrote: “Should this appeal be allowed, which is considered likely given the financial evidence provided by Redrow, there would be no off-site contribution towards affordable housing.
“Furthermore, the council would not have control over how the £10,000 originally proposed for highways works and public art would be spent.
“Ward councillors and town councillors had requested for this latest application that the £10,000 be spent solely on local highways works, which the applicant had agreed to.”
A hearing by the Planning Inspectorate will be held on September 3 to decide whether to back Redrow or the council.