THE next phase of the expansive Horwich Loco Works development has been given the green light.

But the reserved matters approval for 205 homes, as part of the ongoing Rivington Chase scheme, was not without its opponents.

Town councillors had insisted developers Bellway should 'stick to their original masterplan' for the sprawling site. And members of Horwich Heritage insisted the housing bid 'lacked flair' and green space, while disregarding the land's historical significance.

Bolton Council's own drainage officers objected, as an independent scheme had been drafted for the new homes, instead of them being part of the wider estate's network.

But their planning officer colleagues noted that refusing the application, with a spine road would jeopardise the wider Rivington chase development.

Following a meeting of the borough's planning committee, the proposals were approved, subject to consultations with chairman Cllr John Walsh and vice-chairman Cllr Marie Brady, and Horwich and Blackrod and Horwich North East ward councillors.

The four councillors to oppose the approval were Cllr Brady, Cllr Roger Hayes, Cllr Paul Sanders and Cllr David Wilkinson. Work is now expected to begin on the red-brick properties by early next year.

George Stevenson, land director at Bellway, said: "We’ve worked hard to ensure the properties on site reflect its heritage, and with the link road providing key infrastructure to the neighbourhood, it truly makes Horwich an exciting and attractive place to live."

Cllr Adele Warren, Bolton's regeneration cabinet member, added: "This marks a significant step in the regeneration of the former Horwich Loco Works, which is key part of our plans to meet the demand for housing in Bolton. Not only does it allow for 205 new homes to be built on brownfield land, but it will see work start on the link road that will connect the new housing to vital transport infrastructure.”