The developer has struck a deal with Bolton Council to redevelop the former market precinct in Farnworth town centre, which the council purchased from regeneration specialist St Modwen last year.
Under Capital & Centric’s proposal, the site on King Street in the heart of Farnworth would be transformed into a mixed-use community with 200 homes, centred around a public square featuring artisan markets, art galleries, live events, pop-up bars and other community uses.
There would also be a linear park and spaces for café-bars, delis, a ‘mini-cinema’, gym and co-working facilities, according to the developer. The site is a short walk from Farnworth train stations, with routes into Bolton and Manchester, and close to the town’s refurbished bus station. BDP is the architect for the scheme.
The former market site is a key component of Bolton Council’s £27m Farnworth town centre masterplan, which was signed off last July following a public consultation earlier that year.
The masterplan set out plans for a new community and civic hub; extension and overhaul of Farnworth leisure centre; £5m of investment in public realm and connectivity; a further £5m towards improving building facades and signage, and the redevelopment of Farnworth Market.
St Modwen, the site’s previous owner, in 2015 submitted a planning application to Bolton Council for a 23,000 sq ft retail and leisure project in Farnworth town centre and had been working with the council since then to bring forward a development.
Those earlier plans, drawn up by AEW Architects with Pegasus Group as St Modwen’s planning consultant, featured a shopping parade of ground floor retail space with a first-floor gym or further retail and improvements to the public realm.
However, Bolton Council acquired the market site from St Modwen in March 2019 and set out plans to invest £2.5m to accelerate its redevelopment. At the time, the council also set aside £3.5m to fund potential property acquisitions in the town centre to enable work to progress.
The agreement with Capital & Centric will kickstart the long-awaited regeneration of the site, the parties said today. The developer intends to launch a public consultation in the new year and a planning application would follow.
Farnworth Market is Capital & Centric’s first project in Bolton, but it is also building elsewhere in Greater Manchester, in Stockport and Rochdale. Co-founder Tim Heatley said: “This is about rebooting and modernising the market town. By creating 200 new homes around the square, we’re bringing life and spending power back to the town centre, so it’ll have its own ecosystem.
“We’re looking to attract the region’s best artists, makers and indie operators to set up home here.”
Cllr Martyn Cox, deputy leader of Bolton Council, added: “It’s great to see such exciting development plans for Farnworth town centre. Capital & Centric has a fantastic track record not just of creating buildings, but communities for people to live, work and socialise in.
“This is what is needed to transform Farnworth town centre and make it more vibrant, attractive for visitors and fit for the future.”
Farnworth is waiting to hear the outcome of its £19m bid to the Government’s Future High Streets Fund. If it is successful, the funding would help to deliver several other components of the town centre masterplan.
Farnworth is also one of Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham’s Town Centre challenge areas.