Bolton Council has announced the submission of two bids for a share of the government’s Levelling Up Fund, with £40 million being requested to help transform the town centre and improve transport links in the borough.
The first bid relates to the regeneration of Bolton town centre and would require investment of £20m to create a modern hotel and conference complex, open up a historic heritage quarter, as well as delivering a re-imagined Market Place shopping centre.
The hotel and conference complex would see an under-used part of the town converted into a high-end hotel and operated by an internationally recognised brand. Conference facilities are to be added to the neighbouring Albert Halls to compliment the hotel development and bring more visitors into the own and improve public access to a listed building.
The project to re-imagine Market Place would see more public space created and the building being opened up to allow pedestrians to walk directly between the main entrance and a new entrance on St. George’s Road. The work would also include the redevelopment of a former shop unit that will now hold new community, leisure, music, and sport facilities.
Councillor Martyn Cox, Bolton Council leader, said:
“As shopping habits change, we want to move the town centre away from a focus on retail towards more leisure, hospitality, and employment space.
“This bid would allow us to maximise the grant money available by delivering three distinct projects while also protecting and enhancing some of Bolton’s best heritage assets.”
MP for Bolton North East, Mark Logan, added:
“This bid preserves the best of what Bolton already has to offer whilst diversifying out high street – reinventing a new town centre fit for 21st century shopping and lifestyle habits.
“Boltonians will reap the benefits for many generations to come.
“I’ll continue to bang the drum I Westminster to secure as much funding as possible to make the plans Bolton’s new reality.”
The second bid focuses on travel links however, unlike many other levelling up bids that focus on travel, isn’t looking at public transport. This bid is looking to secure funding to make improvement in traffic capacity, as one area of the borough often suffers travel delays at peak times.
As well as the improvements in the road network, segregated pedestrians and cycling routes will also be improved, in line with national guidance, which will help to provide a network that is safe for all users of the roads.
These bids come at the very end of the bidding period, with the closing date for submissions being tomorrow (Tuesday 2nd August 2022).