Bolton expects others to follow its partnership model. Credit: via Galibier PR

Bolton College of Medical Sciences approved

Councillors greenlit updated plans for the training facility but rejected an application for 94 affordable homes off Inverbeg Drive.

That application, proposed for a site designated for recreation, had attracted 142 objections. It currently houses an amateur football club.

The scheme, which has been adapted slightly since its October 2021 submission, was to have been taken on in full by Bolton at Home for affordable housing. Councillors raised concerns around access, loss of sports facilities and a lack of information as to alternative sports provision.

Contractor Willmott Dixon intends to make a start in July on the 81,000 sq ft, £30m BCMS project, to be delivered on a surface car park within the Royal Bolton Hospital estate in Farnworth.

Edgeplan and Box Clever lead the professional team. Associated Architects designed the project.

BCMS is due to open in September 2024 and according to Bolton Council, is “expected to transform how NHS workforces are trained in the UK, alleviate healthcare staffing pressures in Greater Manchester, and provide improved levels of care to the local community”.

Revised plans submitted in March proposed to replace the multi-storey cark park included in the original design, approved in 2019, with surface level parking.

The college project will include teaching and learning space, a café, and a staff and service space, also bringing an additional 250 car parking spaces.

BCMS is a collaborative project between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

Project director Mark O’Reilly described the verdict as “a major win for the Bolton community as it unlocks the construction of a facility that will bring countless healthcare and occupational benefits to the area”.

He added: “We expect BCMS to become a blueprint for other NHS trusts nationwide and transform how NHS workforces are recruited and trained across the country. Bolton will lead by example on how the UK can address the NHS staffing crisis and attract more people to healthcare professions.”

The committee also approved plans for a park on the site of the former Odeon cinema, along with outline plans for access to mixed-use facilities close to the University of Bolton Stadium. The site has an outline consent dating back to 2012, but never got to Section 106 stage.

However, with Bolton now bidding for Levelling Up Fund support to improve highways and transport in the area, the access part of the plans are now being advanced.

Mostly, the work involves junction improvements, including the Spirit of Sport roundabout, De Havilland Way and the junction of Stadium Way and Burnden Way.

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