Bolton Council has appointed Muse as its development partner for Church Wharf, part of its £1bn redevelopment of the town centre.
The council outlined its ambitions for the area, bordered by the River Croal, in January and hopes to develop housing, employment use, leisure, commercial, and hotel space, with plans for Church Wharf are due to be split into two phases.
The initial phase will be developed on a site lying between Folds Road to the north and the River Croal to the south, intersected by Brown Street.
The first phase will be residential-led, supported by an investment in public realm, particularly along the riverfront, and will also include cafes, restaurants and leisure uses.
The council has prioritised retaining public access along the riverside and will explore modifying or enlarging the watercourse which it said would help to “create an attractive setting both for the development and the pedestrian route” by the river.
It is expected the first phase will be developed and designed as one project, rather than being delivered on a building-by-building basis.
Later phases will include offices and the council said the development could also include a hotel, dependent on demand. The later phase will be built on land currently occupied by surface car parks, sitting between Kay Street, All Saints Street, Crown Street, and Bank Street.
It is not expected that offices would be brought forward until residential development has been delivered.
Supporting infrastructure also forms part of the consultation. Plans include a new bridge over the river and a link road connecting Church Bank to River Street.
The partnership with Muse was announced at the MIPIM property conference in Cannes by the council’s director of place Stephen Young, who was speaking at a panel alongside Mike Horner from Muse Developments and cricketer and developer Andrew Flintoff, who has also expressed an interest in some of Bolton’s sites.
Speaking to Place North West, Flintoff said that his development firm Logik had held talks with Bolton Council about bringing forward parts of the town’s £1bn masterplan but a deal was yet to be agreed.
Deputy leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, said: “We are really pleased that Muse will lead on the regeneration of Church Wharf.
“They have a great track record of creating spaces that are both commercially successful and also popular with the public.
“Our town centre vision is bold and exciting but we know it cannot be delivered by the council in isolation.
“To achieve regeneration on the scale we require the help of our private sector partners, and the team at Muse has an excellent track record of delivering high quality creative schemes.
“Church Wharf is a key gateway into Bolton town centre and we want to see regeneration taking place there as soon as possible.”
Muse director Phil Mayall said: “We are excited to work on a scheme that has so much potential. Bolton is a forward-thinking council that wants to bring real change to the town.
“We have been tracking the project for a long time, so it will be great to begin to get the wheels in motion.
“However, we are at the start of a long journey – at this stage all options will be analysed and considered and we will be working closely with the council to get the plans right for the town. Local residents, businesses and stakeholders will also be consulted as proposals emerge.”
It is not the first time the council has proposed redeveloping the area, with a supplementary planning document issued in 2008, outlining plans for 400 homes alongside offices, commercial, and leisure development, worth around £226m.
Ask and Bluemantle were previously attached to the scheme, but it was never progressed due to the economic downturn.