Artist impression of Church Wharf development, Bolton

Bolton: £150m development plans will kick off town centre masterplan

A £150m town centre development could see 320 homes created alongside a new park, hotel and a bridge.

Aerial view of Church Wharf development, Bolton

Aerial view of Church Wharf development, Bolton
Church Wharf is the first phase of Bolton Council’s £1bn masterplan for town centre regeneration and the development firm behind the project, Muse, has launched a consultation on the proposals.

The project follows the River Croal from Bank Street through to Church Bank, with many of the new buildings set to sit in the shadow of Bolton Parish Church.

According to the developers, the new neighbourhood will provide a boost to the local economy, with up to 290 jobs created when the site is completed, and 130 jobs during construction. It could also provide the council with an additional £450,000 in business rates each year through retail and commercial properties.

Housing on the 2.8 hectare site is set to include a mix of property types, with one, two and three-bedroom flats, duplexes and family townhouses proposed in different areas. Currently, there is no requirement for a specific proportional of affordable housing, although the council says it will meet its quotas in that regard in other areas.

It is not the first-time regeneration of the area has been considered, a decade ago Church Wharf was the subject of a different plan which ultimately fell through.

Now, the council says it will support the scheme using the £100m it has set aside for use in its masterplan dealings.

Councillor Ebrahim Adia, deputy leader of Bolton Council and executive member of regeneration, said: “Church Wharf is a key gateway into Bolton town centre and one of five sites in the council’s billion-pound town centre masterplan.

“Creating a new neighbourhood at Church Wharf will help regenerate the town centre and breathe new life into the area. We’re supporting this vision with £100m direct investment to fund the key infrastructure needed to deliver important town centre sites including Church Wharf.”

A key feature of the development will involve making changes to the riverbed of the River Croal, as well as adding trees and plants on the banks.

This will be visible from the ‘river park’ which will be built on the area currently used as a carpark off Brown Street.

Running through the new park there will be bridge which cuts down from the site of the former Late Club on Bank Street – set to be demolished – and connects around Water Street. The developers say this will be built from ‘weathered steel’ similar to the product used to build the Ordsall Chord in Manchester.

Another building in the centre of the site owned by United Utilities will remain next to the river, although the area surrounding it will be updated.

David Burkinshaw, who represents Muse Developments, said: “Cities and towns across the North are being revitalised as more people choose to live in urban centres. This shift in the way people want to live is enabling new neighbourhoods to be created with a daytime and evening economy, where restaurants, bars, cafes and shops all thrive.

“The Church Wharf site is in an ideal location for new homes, within minutes walk of the centre of town. The setting alongside the River Croal and with impressive views of the two churches gives Muse the opportunity, working in partnership with Bolton Council, to create something really special that people can be proud of.

“The area has a rich industrial heritage and the development will be designed to balance the desire for modern, high quality architecture with its historic setting. We’re looking at retaining some of the existing buildings and other features.”

A planning application is expected in Spring with a decision from the council expected in the Summer. The opportunity to set aside a temporary landscaped area for leisure and events is also being considered.

Community engagement on the proposals will begin today, with the developers set to hold an event on Friday January 25, noon-6pm and Saturday January 26, 10-4pm in which a unit on Crompton Place will host planning documents and computer-generated images of how the site will look.

Source: The Bolton News

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