The council is looking for a consultant to draw up plans for a redevelopment of the town centre, expected to feature a refreshed retail offer, hotel, university, housing and a revamped travel interchange.
The masterplan to transform the town centre would seek to respond to “seismic changes occurring in the physical retailing world”, according to a council report.
“The [town] centres that survive the fallout from the relentless shrinkage of physical retail are those that have a diverse range of visitor and leisure attractions, modern workplaces and a reconfigured and varied retail experiences,” the report, due to be discussed at Bury’s cabinet meeting next week, said.
The report described the wider markets area of the town centre as “run down” and said that neighbouring retail parades were “tired” including the former high street, leading up to the Rock shopping centre which has “weak ground floor uses and wastes an opportunity to create a high-quality central square in the middle of the town”.
A consultant could be appointed by October and the process of drawing up the masterplan is likely to take around six months, according to the council.
Bury is requesting cabinet approval to secure £100,000 of funding to appoint a consultant.
The objectives of the masterplan include:
- Increasing the potential for Bury town centre to thrive as an employment centre, and the size and type of office facilities
- Accommodating further hotel investment in the town centre
- Creating links between the proposed flexi-hall at Bury Market to the wider town centre
- Incorporating housing into the town centre
- Creating a more defined educational zone linking the college campuses and potentially a university presence
- Attracting niche or other distinctive forms of development such as cultural, visitor or leisure uses
- Improving the town centre’s current attractions and functions, including growing its role in providing a major transport interchange for the borough, and promoting active travel.
Plans are already in the works to create a multipurpose space, or ‘flexi-hall’, at Bury Market to address the lack of large event space in the town.
As well as providing bays for market traders, the hall could be used for council and independently run events such as food festivals and live music performances. It would feature a stage and double up as an entrance to the market.