THE cost of a new, delayed link road through Horwich as part of the Rivington Chase regeneration site has spiralled from £12m to £19m, councillors have heard.

Work on the road, which will be financed by a grant from Homes England, is expected to start next January and be finished by 2023, if the extra costs are agreed by them.

The link road scheme will connect Horwich town centre and Chorley New Road to Middlebrook retail park, Horwich railway station, and the M61 via Rivington Chase.

The road is seen as a vital part of the former Horwich Loco Works regeneration scheme, unlocking the site and relieving pressure on other roads, including the Beehive roundabout, which is a congestion pressure point.

A scrutiny committee meeting of Bolton Council, heard from borough place director Gerry Brough, who said Homes England were due to give their decision on the extra funding this month.

He said the original £12m bid had been accepted in 2018 but rising costs associated with the road meant the council have requested an increase in the grant. The decision will be made by the Homes England board in October.

The conditions attached to the grant were the delivery of the spine road by April 2023 and the delivery of 1,100 homes by 2030, including 120 affordable homes.

Mr Brough, said: “When we fit for the grant the work was forecast to cost £12m.

“When we got to the point of detailed business cases the costs have gone up to £19m.

“That’s been a huge increase in costs, with all sorts of reasons for that.

“They (Homes England) agreed that they would fund additional cost providing we could justify it.

“So we’ve been involved in a difficult, detailed exercise for the last six months, making sure that it’s verified by independent assessments.

“Once we’ve got the process complete which is just about all done, we will most likely be able to fund the £19m programme rather than a £12m pound programme.”

Alongside the link road scheme in Horwich, there will be open spaces for residents of Rivington Chase and Horwich, including cycle paths, footpaths and green spaces.

The 150-acre Rivington Chase housing development, led by property developer Bluemantle, was approved for planning in 2015.

It will include around 1,700 houses, as well as employment, leisure, retail, and green space.

The road was originally expected to be fully operational by 2021.