Following the latest meeting of Horwich Loco Works Liaison Committee, I would like to take the opportunity to update the local community on progress.

The committee meets every few months and receives updates on the various elements; this will continue as long as is deemed necessary. Residents quite understandably have legitimate concerns regarding a number of issues related to the development, in particular with regards to contamination, increases in traffic and the strategy for the site. A great deal of time is being invested in ensuring that all matters are dealt with appropriately and I would like to provide reassurances that each of these issues is being taken care of.

At the meeting, committee members were shown a presentation which outlined the current position with regards to the site. Bolton Council and the landowners are working together to create a Memorandum of Understanding and agreements between the parties to ensure an overarching strategy is in place and so that the relevant Section 106 monies from the outline planning permission are made available for highways improvements, health and education provision etc. Each developer will pay their share on a home by home basis. As was always intended, the site will be developed on a phased basis, with a builder taking ownership of a section of the site, having ensured the plot of land is safely prepared for building works.

Highways provision, both through the site and in the wider vicinity, will be constructed and enhanced as the scheme progresses. The remediation strategy for the site was discussed at the meeting and the assurances given on decontamination of the land were absolutely clear in that no stone will be left unturned in making sure this is carried out with the highest regard for safety, with several organisations involved in ensuring all matters are signed off correctly. Other items included were the Open Space strategy and future development plans, as well as how the proposed first phase of development will align with the rest of the site.

All in all, while people will disagree about the detail, I think all in attendance came away from the meeting satisfied that significant work is being done and will continue to take place to ensure that the former Horwich Loco Works site will be developed in the correct way, with due regards given to each aspect of the development. Bolton Council will continue to play an anchor role in bringing things together and with the landowners working together, the development promises to be an exciting venture, ensuring much needed local homes are provided, while helping to protect our greenbelt from development. Crucially, the needs of current and future residents of Horwich and the surrounding area must be met and I am confident that this will be the case – I will certainly be playing my part in ensuring this happens.

Councillor Stephen Pickup

Horwich and Blackrod ward

Vice Chair of Environmental Services Scrutiny Committee

Chair of the Labour Group on Bolton Council