Bolton sets out £12m funding pot as Farnworth consultation starts

Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton are all set to benefit from a £12m fund set aside by Bolton Council to regenerate local town centres.

The council had set aside £100m to put towards Bolton’s town centre masterplan, but said due to do “additional private sector investment”, it would be able to spread some of the funding out to the borough’s other centres.

This additional funding will allow for further improvements to all four centres. BDP has already been appointed to draw up a masterplan for Farnworth, and this is expected to come forward in the spring, following a consultation launched this week.

Options being explored include a redevelopment of the Market Precinct for a mixture of uses, including retail, leisure, and residential; a new community and civic hub; an extension of the leisure centre; and improved public realm. Real estate consultation BE Group is also involved in the masterplan, and public consultation events will be taking place throughout January, starting on Thursday 17 between 10am and 1pm at 14 Brackley Street in the town centre.

The town has also secured £2m in funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for a series of improvement to Farnworth bus station, alongside works to improve public realm and access.

Cllr Ebrahim Adia, deputy leader of the council, said Bolton would look to make “a multi-million-pound investment in the Farnworth town centre masterplan”.

A report to Bolton’s cabinet next week said the money would help to “ultimately attract private sector investment and secure development proposals”.

According to the report, the funding will be made available as scheme in Bolton town centre and are delivered and recycled funds are made available.

The town’s £1bn masterplan moved forward earlier this month after Muse and architect AEW unveiled their vision for Church Wharf, one of the first sites to come forward in the town centre.

This centres on building a new £150m neighbourhood alongside the River Croal, featuring 320 homes as well as the potential for a hotel, offices, and ground-floor retail and commercial space.

Last summer, a consortium involving Chinese heavyweight Beijing Construction & Engineering Group International also agreed term to provide £250m funding for the replacement of the Crompton Place Shopping Centre with a new retail and leisure development.

Cllr Linda Thomas, leader of Bolton Council, said: This investment will deliver long-term benefits for local communities right across the borough, which is an absolutely priority for us.

“We are making really good progress on Bolton town centre with the private sector, which frees up some of the investment we’ve set aside.

“We know that an overhaul is needed in local centres, and the issue of regeneration is a real sticking point for the communities. We have listened.

“This proposed investment will help to regenerate, reinvigorate and reshape town centres to reflect changed shopping habits and to meet the requirements of what people now want.”

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