Multi-million boost for local town centres

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Bolton Council has unveiled proposals to invest a pot of £12 million to regenerate local town centres.

It has been revealed that Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton will all benefit from the new fund.

The council had set aside £100m for the Bolton town centre masterplan and is now looking at earmarking some of this to breathe new life into district town centres.

This is now possible due to additional private sector investment in Bolton’s masterplan, which was revealed in 2017.

Allocating extra funding to the borough’s largest centres will enable the council to continue to invest in smaller key centres such as Kearsley and Blackrod through its capital programme.

The report is subject to approval at Cabinet on Monday, January 21.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, said that the proposed investment in these key local centres underlined the council’s commitment to regenerating town centres across the borough.

She said: “This investment will deliver long-term benefits for local communities right across the borough, which is an absolutely priority for us.

“We are making really good progress on Bolton town centre with the private sector, which frees up some of the investment we’ve set aside.

“We know that an overhaul is needed in local centres, and the issue of regeneration is a real sticking point for the communities. We have listened.

“This proposed investment will help to regenerate, reinvigorate and reshape town centres to reflect changed shopping habits and to meet the requirements of what people now want.”

Town centres will be supported to produce a development strategy and masterplan in consultation with the local community.

Each centre’s plan will need to be strong enough to attract private investment to support their redevelopment vision.

Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, added: “The level of funding given to individual town centres will depend on the overall content and quality of their strategy and masterplan.

“The wheels are already in motion to regenerate Farnworth and consultation is underway on proposals to include in their masterplan.

“We expect to make a multi-million investment in the Farnworth town centre masterplan.

“As with Farnworth, we would work with representatives from across the community, to help them shape their town centre plans.”

Bolton Council’s £100m fund is financed through a low interest loan, paid for by dividends from the Manchester Airport and the Yorkshire Purchasing Company.

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