Towns Fund

Last December, Bolton was successfully offered up to £22.9m of funding from the central government’s Towns Fund to help regenerate the Town Centre. This is in addition to the £1m accelerated funding already secured. The priorities for investment will be concentrated on Cheadle Square (the area between Bolton Town Hall and Moor Lane) which is one of our key intervention areas.

Bolton’s Town Investment Plan was one of 45 town deals announced as part of the budget and is also one of only 101 towns given the opportunity to secure funding from the £3.6bn Fund.

Bolton's Town Investment Plan

Bolton’s investment plan sought funds for four projects:

  • Improvements to Bolton Market, which would see the outdoor market refurbished, upgrades to the internal halls, and all the entrances to the building improved
  • The redevelopment of Bolton Central Library, Museum and Archive, which would expand the Aquarium, modernise the libraries and introduce flexible workspaces for local businesses and groups
  • An upgrade and refurbishment of the Wellsprings building to create an innovation hub for businesses in the creative and digital sector
  • A public realm project which would create a greener town centre, seeing footpaths and connections between key institutions improved, and new pocket parks and public spaces created.

The next stage of the process will involve the council agreeing Heads of Terms with government and developing a full business case for each of the projects.

Costs are indicative and could change as plans develop and there are strict criteria on how money from the government’s Towns Fund can be spent. It can only be used on Bolton town centre regeneration projects, and not used to offset budget savings or spent on other services.

“I am overjoyed that Bolton’s Town Fund has been successful and the money we receive will make a great difference to our town centre. The success is a testimony to Bolton’s fantastic collaborative working with partners to provide upgraded facilities to businesses, residents and visitors alike. ”
Chair of Bolton’s Town Deal Board and Director at Agitare Business Consultancy, Belinda Beaver

A collaborative approach

The council has also secured an additional £1m from the fund, which will be invested in improvements to the public realm on Ashburner Street and the surrounding area prior to the main projects. The current proposal is for the former Odeon site to become an outdoor events space with a stage area raised seating and planting to create a new town centre public space integrating Bolton Market with the wider town centre. Public Realm improvements along Blackhorse Street will include new natural stone paving, granite kerbs and tree planting. These plans will be subject to further consultation before formal approval.

The vision for Cheadle Square has been shaped and supported by everyone who lives, works and visits the borough. The successful bid was drawn together using a collaborative approach with invaluable support from the Towns Deal Board, chaired by Belinda Beaver from Agitare Consultancy. The Board is comprised of key partners, stakeholders, Bolton MP’s, Councillors and staff.

Bolton residents, businesses and community groups have played a key role in the process and were consulted extensively on what they wanted to see improved and what they felt the priorities for investment should be. A total of 567 surveys were completed, and virtual workshops with 60 people and one-to-one interviews with 19 private, public and voluntary sector representatives took place during July and August 2020.

The Towns Fund

In September 2019, the government invited 100 places to develop proposals for a Town Deal, as part of the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

The Towns Fund is part of the government’s plan for leveling up the UK economy. Towns across England will work with the Government to address growth constraints and to ensure there is a course of recovery from the impact of COVID-19. The overarching aims of the Towns Fund are to drive the sustainable economic regeneration of towns to deliver long term economic and productivity growth.

To find out more about the Government’s towns fund go to https://townsfund.org.uk/.