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Little Lever

Introduction to Area

Across the UK, town centres are facing challenges to their future vitality and viability.  Many town centres are suffering from falling retail sales, reduced footfall, rising vacancies and high maintenance costs.  Town centres need to become places that offer more diverse attractions providing a range of different activities and uses such as shops, housing, leisure, vibrant food and drink offers, social and community hubs and commercial and cultural enterprises, all of which should be designed to function as intergenerational spaces.

In response to the challenges facing Bolton’s town centres, the Council has adopted a three-pronged regeneration strategy to (i) masterplan, (ii) intervene directly and (iii) leverage private investment. The Council approved in 2019 a £16m budget to support the delivery of town centre strategies, in Farnworth, Westhoughton, Horwich and Little Lever, which aims to sustain the immediate future of the town centres to the benefit of the wider Borough and its residents. The funding will be used to target interventions in the four areas which will have the greatest impact.

Development of the Masterplan

BDP and their team of Consultants were appointed in October 2019 to develop a masterplan for Little Lever  that reflects the Bolton Vision 2030 of “creating a vibrant place, built on strong cohesive communities, successful business and healthy residents ensuring it is a welcoming place where people choose to study, work and put down roots”. The masterplans will be developed in partnership with key stakeholders and in consultation with the public.


BDP and their team of Consultants, in consultation with members of the Little Lever town centre Steering Group and key stakeholders in the area, have developed a draft masterplan including a number of key development proposals for Little Lever town centre.

The draft masterplan and key development proposals will be out to a four week period of public consultation, commencing on Monday 27th January 2020 and concluding on Sunday 23rd February 2020 where we invite anyone with an interest in the future of Little Lever town centre to read the draft proposals and to feedback your views on them by completing a questionnaire either online or in hard copy.

Little Lever Town Centre Masterplan 

Little Lever Masterplan proposals

Hard copies of the questionnaires were available at locations throughout Little Lever for completion and returned to the Council’s Consultation team who will analyse all the responses received from the consultation, independently of BDP. The outcome of the public consultation will feed into the development of the final masterplan and development proposals to go to Cabinet for approval in Summer 2020.

The Council’s Consultation team will be running two ‘drop-in’ events in Little Lever town centre where members of the Consultation team, Officers from Growth and Regeneration and representatives from the BDP and team of Consultants will be available to answer questions. Hard copies of the questionnaires will be available for completion on both days.

Wednesday 5th February 2020 3pm-7pm
Little Lever Library, Coronation Square, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1LP

Saturday 8th February 2020 10am-2pm
Little Lever Library, Coronation Square, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1LP

The deadline for submission of all questionnaires was Sunday 23rd February 2020. The consultation period  has now closed. The results will be collated and reported back to the Cabinet for further decisions later this year.


Following completion of the masterplan for Little Lever, a town centre Strategy will be developed by Bolton Council that will include target interventions, masterplan framework and economic benefits. An action plan with appropriate priorities, output measures and indicators will be developed enabling annual monitoring and review reports overseen by the Director of Place and Assistant Director of Economic Development and Regeneration and members of the Little Lever town centre Steering Group. Target interventions for little Lever include improvements to the precinct site to create new shop frontage, promotion of housing development in and around the town centre and the redevelopment of the former Library and War Memorial.


On the 21st January 2019 Cabinet approved a £12m allocation of funding from the £100m Town Centre Strategy Fund to be create strategies and masterplans in consultation with the local community and support targeted intervention in Farnworth, Horwich, Westhoughton and Little Lever town centres where they will ultimately attract private sector investment and secure development proposals.

On the 20th February 2019 Full Council approved an additional £4m of funding from the 2019/20 Capital Programme for further investment in district centres, totalling £16m across all the district centres. The level of funding given to any town centre will depend on the overall content and quality of the strategy and masterplan and the level of support needed to initiate development.


Development Principles


Lifestyle and Community – Provide facilities that encourage a thriving day and night-time economy and look to diversify, add value to, and complement the existing offer. Making best use of community assets and building on established social and community groups, including linking new models of health and social care to meet the needs of residents and improve access.

Housing – Provision of good quality housing in attractive environments. Provide an affordable housing offer for all and utilise brownfield sites within the town centre. New homes will help increase the town centre population which helps in increasing levels of activity and safety in the town centre, especially in the evenings.

Transport links – focusing on better public transport links to Radcliffe, Bury and Manchester via bus routes.