A MAJOR landowner at the Horwich Loco Works has responded to criticism and said the site's redevelopment would be delivered in a 'co-ordinated and comprehensive manner'.

Mark Caldwell, chief executive of Bluemantle, moved to reassure people after it was revealed that a full masterplan would not be produced for the 1,700-home Rivington Chase scheme.

This led to concerns about both the contamination on the site and the road improvements with many saying they would not be delivered in a co-ordinated manner.

But Mr Caldwell said: "We take our responsibility to the local community very seriously having been involved with the site for over 20 years.

"The outline planning consent, which was granted in September 2015, was based on an enormous body of detailed professional work undertaken over several years including master-planning, site investigations and

transport assessments that provided a robust, safe and comprehensive development plan for the entire site.

"I understand the concerns that have been raised over the last few weeks in terms of contamination, congestion and master-planning and the importance of giving local people the comfort that the delivery of the development will be carried out in the right way, so welcome the opportunity to respond to these concerns.

"We have been working very closely with the other major landowners on the site including the Homes And Community Agency, Network Rail, HKR Ltd and Bolton Council, and have agreed a memorandum of understanding.

"Between the five of us we control over 97 per cent of the developable site area so this will ensure that the site will be developed in a co-ordinated and comprehensive manner."

He said the project was always envisaged to be delivered in phases and the schedule was submitted to Bolton Council earlier this year alongside Bellway Homes' application to build the first 112 dwellings.

It includes details of when the Aspinall Way link road and junction improvements such as the Beehive Roundabout have to be delivered in an attempt to improve traffic on Chorley New Road.

Mr Caldwell said: "In terms of the concerns over the lack of a masterplan, the design and access statement for the existing permission does in fact cover the use and amount of development, the design of the various character areas of the site such as the northern section where the Bellway scheme is situated and detail around footpaths and cycleways, open space and ecology, drainage, remediation and phasing.

"However, we have decided to produce an updated open space strategy including an illustrative masterplan for the benefit of local people which will put the Bellway scheme into context.

"I am particularly excited about the creation of a significant amount of public open space which will help link Horwich town centre to Middlebrook via a network of footpaths, cycleways, green landscaping and play areas."

The contamination on the site, which includes asbestos and PCBs, has been assessed and Mr Caldwell said further investigations will take place.

Remedial treatments would be used to 'improve the condition' of the environment to 'ensure that risks to future and off-site home owners are mitigated'.

The works will be overseen by the council and the Environment Agency.

Mr Caldwell said: "I personally believe that the delivery of Bellway’s first phase of houses is the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of Horwich – having been involved with the Loco Works for the last twenty years I am looking forward to working with all local stakeholders in a positive and proactive way over the years to come to deliver much needed new housing on a sustainable brownfield site."