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Bolton Council accused of shameful attempt to remove heritage safeguards

A proposal by Bolton Council to remove the Conservation Area status of the Horwich Loco Works has been condemned by the Victorian Society.

The Horwich Loco Works is a key part of the heritage of the Bolton area, which is why it was designated as a Conservation Area only five years ago. Removing this status would make it easier to demolish the Loco Works, as there would be no need to apply for specific consent.

'Bolton Council is taking a very cynical approach to its heritage by attempting to bypass an important level of heritage protection', said Chris Costelloe, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'Conservation Area status doesn't prevent change; it just means that any demolition must be carefully considered in order to get the balance right between the need for change and the need to preserve buildings of special architectural and historic interest.'

Developer Horwich Vision Ltd wants to build 1600 homes on the site, as well as offices and shops in a move which will expand the town of Horwich and create up to 4000 jobs.

The Horwich Loco Works was built in 1886 by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway to build and repair engines. At one stage the factory was the largest employer in the town. The site, which closed down in 1983, is home to an impressive office building as well as a series of long brick-built workshops with full-height arched windows.

'Many of these buildings could be adapted and reused and it is shameful that instead of seeing its heritage as an irreplaceable asset, Bolton Council seems to view it as an impediment to development.'

The Victorian Society is calling on Bolton Council to change its approach and press for a conservation-led development of this important site.

 

Thursday 31 March, 2011

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