MORE than £350m of investment is set to transform housing, education, health and transport facilities in Bolton.
The funding is being pumped into the town over the next few years, benefiting everyone in Bolton and the local economy. Work has already started on several important schemes and cash has been confirmed for a number of other projects.
- A £9.4m boost to housing, which will provide 178 affordable homes in the borough, is well underway. Of these, 90 are empty properties which were bought from developers and made available for affordable rental.
Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council said: “There is a real need for more social housing so it is vital that, even in the current economic climate, we give residents the chance of a decent home. Being able to take over properties that would have otherwise been left empty has provided this opportunity.”
- An £83m bid to transform secondary schools in Bolton was given the green light last month.
Eight schools will benefit in the first phase of the national Building Schools for the Future programme.
- In addition, work is underway on a £30m programme of work on primary schools that it is hoped will be the beginning of up to £80m of investment over the next 15 years across the town. This means half of all primary schools will be improved during that period.
- Building work on the new £90m campus for Bolton Community and Bolton Sixth Form colleges on Deane Road is also well underway. The scheme is one of the largest planned investments in further education in the north west.
Councillor Morris said: “The transformation of education in Bolton is significant to the whole community including young children just starting their educational journey, to adult learners and even businesses sending apprentices on vocational courses and a vital part of our long term economic strategy.”
- On top of this, up to £2.5m has been secured for Bolton as part of the government’s Future Jobs Fund. This funding will create more than 350 jobs in public services.
- Work will also soon start on the £31m town centre health, leisure and research complex as part of the Knowledge Campus, on Deane Road. The centre includes a swimming pool, fitness and health facilities and state of the art academic facilities for the university.
- This will be supported by a new £4m road.
- Plans are also being worked up for a new £18m magistrates' court that is due to be built next year.
- The Royal Bolton Hospital has been chosen as a regional 'supercentre' for the care of women, children and babies. The hospital is investing around £20m to create the very best facilities for patients. The ‘Making it Better’ investment will pay for expanded maternity and neonatal units to care for the region’s smallest and sickest babies; new 38-bed children’s ward; extra staff including more midwives, consultant obstetricians, neonatologists and neonatal nurses.
Transport links to the town centre are also being improved.
- A new £9m multistorey car park at the colleges’ site is expected to open in November, and another multi-storey is set to open on Topp Way early next year.
- Funding of £48m has been agreed to implement town centre transport plans including a new transport interchange. Detailed proposals for the scheme are now being drawn up and work could start in 2012 with the interchange opening in 2015.
- A major £4m renovation of Bolton railway station should also start in the autumn and be completed by spring 2010.
“A lot of our developments are still on track and it’s still very much business in Bolton,” added Councillor Morris.