Potential for ‘iconic tower’ as Bolton relaunches Church Wharf

Bolton Council has started the consultation process on its mixed-use Church Wharf redevelopment which could include “an iconic tower” on a gateway site.

The council has outlined its ambitions for the area, bordered by the River Croal, and hopes to develop housing, employment use, leisure, commercial, and hotel space on the land.

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.

The fresh 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, and intersected by Brown Street.

This 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.

The council said the “gateway nature” of the site would “present the opportunity for larger scale buildings with taller perimeter blocks together with the potential for an iconic tower, building or architectural feature”.

However, 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.

Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for regeneration, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, said: “This document will guide the regeneration of Church Wharf which is a key gateway into Bolton town centre.

“It is also one of our five key sites in our masterplan, and we are already speaking to developers and investors about the area, and talks are progressing well.

“We will now consult all key stakeholders and affected businesses and any comments that are received will be taken into consideration before the document is finalised and adopted.”

The council approved a £1bn framework for the redevelopment of the town centre in September last year.

Outline numbers suggest the masterplan, designed by BDP, will deliver up to 1,800 homes, 7,400 new jobs and generate economic activity worth an additional £412m.

The consultation on Church Wharf will run until 2 March.

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