Published: Thursday, 21st Mar 2019

Bolton Council is putting forward a bid for a share of a multi-million pound pot of cash to help improve town centres.

The government has invited bids for its £675 million ‘Future High Street Fund’.
And the council will be making a bid to secure a slice of the cash for Bolton and Farnworth town centres.
The maximum award is £25 million, for an exceptional bid, but most successful bids are expected to receive £10 to £15 million.
Both bids would meet the criteria for the funding due to the advanced stage of their respective masterplans.
Bolton Council’s £1.2 billion masterplan was launched in 2017. The council is working with investors and developers to bring schemes forward in five Town centre areas - Croal Valley, Cheadle Square, Church Wharf, Crompton Place, and Trinity Quarter.
And the council’s £100m fund, which is paid for by dividends from the council’s investment in Manchester Airport, has already triggered a considerable amount of private sector investment backing.
The multi-million pound regeneration of Farnworth town centre has also taken a significant step forward as Bolton Council revealed it is to buy the Market Precinct.
Initial terms have been agreed with the current owner St Modwen to acquire the precinct and the council is also changing masterplan proposals following a recent wide-scale public consultation with residents.

Our masterplans for Bolton and Farnworth are ambitious but will make a huge positive difference.

In a joint statement, Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, and Executive Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, said:

“Our commitment to redeveloping our town centres is clear from the funding we’ve set aside to redevelop them.

“Both Bolton and Farnworth best fit the funding criteria and we are hoping for success. We want to transform Bolton and Farnworth town centres and we will explore all avenues to help us achieve that aim.
“Our masterplans for Bolton and Farnworth are ambitious but will make a huge positive difference. To achieve that transformation, we are always looking for ways to access more funding.
“Our £100m fund for Bolton town centre has triggered much private sector interest and backing and we are paying this back with a very low rate interest loan.
“If we were successful in our bid for additional government funding it would help us to make even more progress with our masterplans for both areas.
“There is a further round of funding after 2020 and the intention would be to have masterplans and a vision set out for our remaining town centres to enable us to submit further bids.”

Bolton Council has allocated £12 million from the council’s £100m town centre strategy fund for Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton.
And the council announced last month that townships, principally Farnworth, will also benefit from an additional £4m for their town centres.