Le Mans Crescent would be turned into a hotel and events centre if Bolton succeeds in its Levelling Up Fund bid. Credit: Flickr user Mikey via CC BY 2.0 bit.ly/3Q51pme

Bolton seeks £40m from Levelling Up Fund

Included in the bids is the £33m Le Mans Crescent development, which aims to create a hotel, conference, and events space by Victoria Square.

Yesterday, Bolton Council submitted two bids for the second round of awards from the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund ahead of the 2 August deadline. The early submission sees Bolton Council avoid the mishap of last year, where the council missed the deadline for one of its projects due to an e-mail attachment being too large to send.

The first of the schemes seeking Levelling Up Funds is a £23m project to improve traffic flow along De Havilland Way.

Bolton is requesting £20m from the Levelling Up Fund for the project, which will see five junctions along the road signalised and synchronised in order to lower congestion and improve bus punctuality. The proposals also aim to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Bolton said it would secure the remaining £3m needed for the project from Section 106 agreements with local developers.

The second request is for another £20m to enable the regeneration of the northern part of Bolton Town Centre. If successful, the awarded funds would be spread out between three projects: the repurposing of Market Place, the Le Mans hotel and events complex, and Mawdsley Area Gateway.

Repurposing Market Place is a £20.7m project that will see the conversion of the old Debenhams unit in Bolton into a leisure facility. The scheme also includes a new link to connect the town centre with St Georges Road, conservatory gardens, and a possible future indoor swimming pool.

Bolton is seeking £8.5m from the Levelling Up Fund for the £33m Le Mans Crescent plan, which has been in the works since 2019 and originally was meant to be delivered by Granite Turner. Bolton cut ties with the developer last year.

The Le Mans Crescent scheme will turn Victoria Square into a year-round events space and transform parts of the Town Hall into a conference space. It would also create a four-star hotel, which would be operated by IHG.

The remaining £24.8m required for the Le Mans Crescent project would be split between GM Pension Fund and Bolton Council. A proposed funding split sees GM Pension fronting the majority of the cost (an estimated £20m) with the local authority contributing £4.8m.

Mawdsley Area Gateway is a £2.6m project geared towards improving wayfinding and public realm between Victoria Square and Nelson Square. The scheme includes creating a pocket park and demolishing an NHS building to improve views of the square. Bolton would allocate £2.05m from a successful Levelling Up Fund bid for the project.

Mark Logan MP voiced his support for the council’s application for Levelling Up Funds.

“This bid preserves the best of what Bolton already has to offer whilst diversifying our high street – reinventing a new town centre fit for 21st Century shopping and lifestyle habits,” Logan said. “Boltonians will reap the rewards for many generations to come.

“I’ll continue to bang the drum in Westminster to secure as much funding as possible to make the plans Bolton’s new reality.”

Tim Vaughan, chief executive of Moorgath Group, said the funding request was a “testament” to the public and private sectors working together.

“Bringing a focus of performing arts and music into the town centre to complement and support the existing offers is a huge step forward to re-invigorating the town centre and its position as a destination to the wider region,” Vaughan said.

“The cultural and community benefits of this proposal should restore real pride into the town centre.”

Bolton Council Leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: “As shopping habits change, we want to move the town centre away from a focus on retail towards more leisure, hospitality and employment space.

“This bid would allow us to maximise the grant money available by delivering three distinct projects while also protecting and enhancing some of Bolton’s best heritage assets.”

Despite missing the deadline for one of its Levelling Up Fund bids last year, Bolton Council did find success in the first round of awards – securing £20m for the building of the Bolton College of Medical Sciences in Farnsworth. That project secured planning permission in June.

Your Comments

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Gentrifying a listed building is going to do what to increase skills in Bolton? Money spent on daubing lipstick on a Gorilla, rather than investing in the next generation.

By Elephant

Given the Tory council in Bolton terrible record of actually progressing any development projects in the town centre the government would be advised to not give them any public money until that changes

By Anonymous

To think only two decades ago this was the 4th major shopping destination in whole of North West.Thats been lost because of the total incompetence of Bolton council who have no idea about planning or redevelopment.

By Giraffe

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