FUNDING of £12million to create a new road across the 1,700-home Horwich Loco Works development has been approved.

The government grant will enable the authority to link the £262million Rivington Chase scheme to Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich Parkway Railway Station and junction six of the M61.

The announcement comes after concerns were raised about the increased traffic which would be caused by the development — one of the biggest in the North West. Acting leader of Bolton Council Cllr Linda Thomas said: “This is great news and we always promised we would address local residents’ concerns about access to the site and how any extra vehicles in the area would be catered for.

“We understood that the local community had concerns about highways infrastructure, and we said this would have to be in place before any houses are built.

“The level of investment proposed in the whole scheme will result in major direct financial investment into Horwich, which will benefit both the town and the whole borough.

“Work on the site will also bring hundreds of new jobs for the community.”

The funding was welcomed by Bolton West MP Chris Green, who chaired a public meeting about the Loco Works regeneration last year.

He said: “Brownfield sites like the Loco Works are exactly where we should be building and last year I was pleased to be able to take Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to the site so he could see some of the issues first-hand.

“There are concerns about the development — particularly around contaminated land and traffic — and I am hopeful that this government funding will be put to good use.”

The funding is part of an £866million investment in local housing projects to help make housing developments viable. Without financial support these projects would struggle to go ahead or take years to begin.

The Loco Works grant is the joint-seventh highest awarded in the country by the Government from this scheme.

The project was thrown into uncertainty last year after Horwich Vision, the group originally responsible for delivering the development, collapsed.

It has now been taken over by Bolton Council and landowners including Bluemantle, Homes England (formerly the Homes and Communities Agency) and Network Rail.

The site has outline planning permission for 1,700 new homes and in November Bellway Homes received permission for 112 dwellings to be built at the entrance to the site — the first phase of the comprehensive masterplan to deliver Rivington Chase.

And an application for 158 homes at the section opposite Horwich RMI Club was recently brought back to life by landowners Hong Kong Racing.

It was deferred by the planning committee at Bolton Council in 2015 to allow for discussions between the developer and planning officers about infrastructure improvements.

The community raised a number of concerns last year following the collapse of Horwich Vision, including the lack of a published masterplan for the site.

But Bluemantle, which is overseeing the whole project, revealed a plan late last year following uproar from residents.