LONG-RUNNING concerns about the 1,700-home Horwich Loco Works regeneration were taken to Bolton Council as residents sought answers.

Local people met with planning officers from the authority yesterday to discuss worries about the Rivington Chase project in Chorley New Road.

It came after Bellway Homes submitted an application for the first phase of the development, which is for 112 homes.

The submission caused people to worry that the development was being delivered in an ‘uncoordinated’ fashion without a master plan detailing the entire scheme.

Horwich town councillor Marie Brady and Stuart Whittle, both on the Rivington Chase Liaison Committee, went to meet with planning officers.

Cllr Brady said: “It was a very productive meeting and a lot of issues were covered and a lot of information was given.

“The issues we raised included the master plan, the highways and the section 106 funding. It covered a whole range of subjects we talked about.”

The scheme was given outline permission by Bolton Council last year.

As well as the homes, the £200 million-plus development also includes 20 acres of employment space and 50 acres of open land for leisure use.

But Horwich Vision, the group overseeing the entire scheme made up of developers Bluemantle and Orbit, collapsed.

And residents have been told that there could be as many as seven developers submitting applications for different sections of the site.

This led to the concerns that no master plan had been produced and that different sections of the site would be developed separately.

A council spokesman said: “We understand residents have concerns when major development is proposed on brownfield sites such as Rivington Chase.

“The council has been working with landowners and developers on the masterplan for Rivington Chase. The site has outline planning permission for 1,700 new homes and regular meetings have been taking place to make sure that while the overall development will inevitably be delivered in phases, this is not done in a piecemeal way.

“The application from Bellway Homes is the first proposed phase of a comprehensive masterplan to deliver Rivington Chase, and if permission is granted it would see 107 new houses developed at the entrance to the site.

“Other applications will be submitted over the coming months for different phases of the scheme including necessary infrastructure, and all applications will be considered in accordance with our usual planning policies and procedures.”

A previous statement from community group Horwich First said: “The purpose of having a single developer was to ensure that the regeneration of this major site and associated infrastructure was delivered in a comprehensive and co-ordinated manner.

“As it stands there appears to be no single entity in overall charge of this complex site, which is remarkable as it’s the biggest housing development in Bolton’s history.

“This was going to be a complex development to manage when there was only a single developer — now we have seven.

“It’s going to be like herding cats as self-interest prevails.”

Bluemantle, which is still overseeing the development, said all the key stakeholders are committed to the ‘comprehensive development of the whole scheme’.

A presentation on Rivington Chase is due to be made to Horwich Town Council on Monday.