Published: Tuesday, 19th Mar 2019

Award-winning Build to Rent (BTR) developer Placefirst has unveiled its vision to transform a key site in Bolton Council’s town centre masterplan.

Placefirst CentralCentral Street car park, which lies in the Croal Valley area, is set to be transformed in a £27.5m development with the town’s first purpose-built, multi-generational BTR urban village.

The scheme will comprise four blocks designed around a network of pedestrian priority streets, courtyards, rooftop terraces and resident gardens.

Designed to appeal to young and old, the scheme proposes a diverse mix of circa 200 homes including family town houses, downsizer apartments, and a choice of one and two-bedroom apartments. 

Complementing the residential elements of the scheme, Placefirst is also proposing up to 15,000 sq.ft of Grade A office space, and a range of ground floor commercial units along Deansgate, a key thoroughfare in Bolton town centre.

Working with MCAU architects, the scheme has been designed to complement the historic fabric of Bolton centre through a mix of medium-rise buildings set out to create a network of people-friendly streets, squares and courtyards.

An outdoor art gallery is also being explored to showcase Bolton’s creativity.

The site is bounded to the north by the River Croal and, in partnership with Bolton Council, Placefirst will explore options to enhance the riverside environment as part of wider council strategy to improve pedestrian links along the river.

A planning application will be submitted later this year and, subject to approval, Placefirst aims to start work on site by early 2020 with in-house contractor, Placefirst Construction.

David Smith-Milne, managing director of Placefirst, commented: “Bolton Council has set out an ambitious vision for the town centre and we are excited to be working with such a forward-thinking local authority.

"We have developed our plans for Central Street with the wider town centre framework in mind and are confident our proposals will reflect that ambition.

“Having cut our teeth delivering complex refurbishment projects in regeneration areas, Bolton represents an important new milestone for Placefirst as our first major town centre new-build BTR community.

"This project will show that town centre, urban living isn’t just for young people living in boring apartments. Through good design and excellent placemaking, schemes such as this will appeal to families, downsizers and the elderly, living together in a genuinely multi-generational community.

“As a build-to-rent developer and landlord, Placefirst put the end-user at the forefront of our designs, ensuring we deliver great homes complimented by attractive amenity spaces that bring communities together.

"Central Street embraces this thinking through the creation of a new residential neighbourhood characterised by human scale urban design and an engaging public realm strategy.”

It is the latest in a series of announcements as part of Bolton Council’s masterplan to redevelop the town centre.

The council is working with investors and developers to bring schemes forward in five areas - Croal Valley, Cheadle Square, Church Wharf, Crompton Place, and Trinity Quarter.

Last week it was revealed that the masterplan is now worth £1.2bn thanks to increasing amounts of private sector investment.

Deputy leader of Bolton Council and portfolio holder for regeneration, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, said: “The council’s £100m fund has triggered significant developer and investor confidence in Bolton, and it’s great to see another exciting residential scheme coming forward for our town centre masterplan.

“It would see an area of land that is rundown and in need of redevelopment completely transformed, with our first build to rent neighbourhood.

“We are delighted to be working with Placefirst on this regeneration opportunity, and the scheme will provide high-quality housing on a brownfield site.”

Announcements made so far in the masterplan include:-

  •  Confirmation in principle of over £250m of private sector investment funding to replace Crompton Place Shopping Centre on Victoria Square;
  • £48m plans for Trinity Gateway by Bolton Regeneration Limited, which is also involved in Crompton Place;
  • Muse Developments submitting a planning application for a £150 million new neighbourhood in Church Wharf;
  • Forshaw Developments’ planning application for a £35m residential development on land fronting St Georges Road in the Croal Valley site.

Alongside Bolton, Placefirst is working on a number of new BTR communities across the North of England set to commence in 2019.

These include 113 homes in Sheffield, 116 in Sunderland, and 52 new-build homes in Liverpool as part of the wider regeneration of Welsh Streets.