WORK has begun to decontaminate land and demolish buildings at the Horwich Loco Works before the first homes are built.

ADM Regeneration will be remediating part of the site on behalf of Bellway Homes over the next 12 weeks.

It comes five months after the company was given the green light to build the first 112 homes of the £200million Rivington Chase development, which has outline planning permission for 1,700 dwellings.

A letter circulated to residents by ADM said: "We are writing to inform you that on behalf of our client, we have been appointed to undertake demolition and remediation work on land at the site which is near your property.

"Our works are scheduled to start on March 12 and our phase of works is expected to last for approximately 12 weeks.

"Throughout the work, we will endeavour to minimise any disruption."

Site inspections carried out before outline planning permission was given in 2015 confirmed the presence of heavy metals, poly aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and asbestos containing materials (ACMs).

There were concerns last year about the contaminants and whether they would be dealt with efficiently before construction began.

Cllr Steve Rock, town mayor of Horwich, said: "As I stated before, I am concerned about the infrastructure.

"It was sad seeing one of the buildings demolished after being there for about 100 years.

"It is part of of Horwich's heritage. I just hope that they are very careful about the contamination as there are a lot of things there that could cause problems if they go into the air."

The site was also used during during the First and Second World War creating shells, bombs, artillery field guns and tanks.

It was also repeatedly targeted by German bombers during the 1940s.

There were unconfirmed reports that an unexploded bomb had been found on the site recently but a spokesman from Bluemantle Developments, which is overseeing the scheme, said these were 'simply untrue'.

A recent statement from Mark Caldwell, CEO of Bluemantle, said: "The Rivington Chase site has of course been subject to a longstanding history of heavy industrial activity which has impacted land quality.

"The nature of this contamination as well as its implications has been assessed by desk and site investigations, which will be supported by further more detailed investigations as required for each phase of development.

"A range of remedial treatments will be used to improve the condition of the site and the overall quality of the environment on and adjacent to it and ensure that risks to future and off site home owners are mitigated, including clean soil capping systems, soil washing, off site disposal of contaminated materials and chemically resistant pipework."

To keep up to date with the progress at Rivington Chase, go to