A HERITAGE group has raised concerns that a key historical building could be demolished as part of new housing proposals despite developers' promises.

The company behind the £262m Rivington Chase estate in Horwich has called on residents to submit their own plans on how the site's legacy should be commemorated.

However, Stuart Whittle, chair of Horwich Heritage, is concerned that the historic Erecting Shop building on the site could be demolished and any commemorative pieces would then be "second rate".

The structure is listed as “no longer viable” in the latest plans for a £12m link road on the site and could be removed after losing the protection of national organisation Historic England.

"The best form of heritage on this site is to keep the building's which fall within the heritage car because those buildings are gone you're into second rate territory," Mr Whittle said.

"What we are waiting to see is some evidence of this in the schemes that been put forward. To date we have seen no evidence of that so you can forgive us for being a bit cynical."

Mr Whittle has suggested that the Erecting Shop could become a "community hub" on the site, potentially housing services usually found in village centres, such as school or retail facilities.

Despite the concerns of Horwich Heritage, Mark Caldwell, CEO of the firm behind the proposals Bluemantle, has said the developers want to "honour" the area's history.

He has asked for ideas to celebrate the Loco Works legacy, including public art displays, roads named after key elements and a heritage trail.

He said: “All of the partners have been working incredibly hard on Rivington Chase behind the scenes for years, and the historical element of the site has been key to those plans. We’re excited to now open up these widespread consultations to the people of Horwich, as we know that many local people still have a close connection with the history of the site, and will be just as keen as us to honour that heritage."

"We welcome all suggestions and ideas that are put forward.”

Work on the new Heritage Core is expected to begin in early to mid 2020, subject to planning permissions.

The planning application for the link road is to be heard at Bolton Council’s planning committee on 22nd August. A planning condition has been agreed to recommend the reuse or recycling of elements of the Erecting and Repair Shop that possess historical interest, either on site or off site at an appropriate location such as a local heritage railway organisation.

To submit ideas, visit: www.rivington-chase-horwich.co.uk/contact.