There are exciting changes coming soon to Bolton town centre. A new cinema and shopping district are all part of plans to turn Bolton into the main hub for city centre offices. It is hoped that this will encourage more businesses to remain in the centre and not be threatened by online retail shops.
A report by The Greater Manchester Planning and Housing Commission said the town centre should become the focus for town centre offices and commercial development, after studying Bolton closely, and looking at how it can fight against the threat of online retail and out of town developments. It produced a list of positives and negatives about Bolton, then detailed how it can be improved.
Bolton wasn’t the only town the study looked at. It also evaluated Ashton, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Altrincham, Wigan and Stockport.
As Bolton retains excellent transport links to Manchester, Manchester Airport, Blackburn, Blackpool, Wigan and Preston, and boasts a world class University and College so close to the town centre, the Commission said Bolton should become the hub for the north of Greater Manchester. Bolton’s knowledge quarter, which is the University, Bolton College, Bolton One and the adjacent Innovation Zone was praised by the Commission. They said it had helped to increase the number of people going to and from Bolton Town Centre.
They thought that more family friendly activities should be in Bolton, such as town centre cinema. Cinema companies have said they are interested in doing this. More ethnically diverse businesses should be opened in Bolton Town centre too, like cafes and restaurants. This will help to boost the amount of independent retailers and business sites close to Bolton’s knowledge quarter. Bolton should cater to its student population also. It said that although Bolton has a good night time economy on Bradshawgate, it could do more. To appeal to the young crowd Bolton could host more comedy nights, live music and bands.
In the past it was suggested that there should be more housing in the town centre, which the Commission backed
The retail shops, should be centred on a smaller area close to Bolton Market and the existing shopping centres the Market Place and Crompton Place.
Bolton is already 5th in the North West for retail offers, and 66th nationally. This rating has improved significantly in the past 10 years. Strong links between retail shops and Bolton Council were found. Victoria Square is well used by the council, the report said, to hold events, for example the Bolton Food and Drink Festival, which attracts tourists to Bolton.
It’s not the only change happening in Bolton in 2013 and beyond. Bolton Market is a few months into its 4.5 million refurbishment, the brand new transport interchange, at the existing train station, is in its early stages of construction, and the old site could become more new office, leisure and retail space. Churchgate has been earmarked for redevelopment and may turn into a new cinema, housing and office space. The report said Bolton Market maintains a strong customer base and helps to nurture new businesses.
So there you go, lots of positives possibly coming to Bolton in the future!