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Regeneration: Greater Manchester Towns

Mark Hempshell reports

Manchester itself has undergone a development boom over the last couple of decades. This seems to be continuing apace post-Covid with more substantial schemes in the offing. Many, however, might wonder where this leaves the larger town centres of Greater Manchester, so we will look at regeneration in those locations.

The last few decades have been tough for most of these towns. While the city of Manchester has grown, most of the surrounding towns have faced an uphill struggle to replace their traditional,
textile based industries. Covid has brought further headaches: How do they regenerate their centres in competition with the bright lights of a much bigger city now that retail and office space is not always a solution?

Greater Manchester’s largest towns do at least have the advantage of relatively low land and property costs, although this can be a double-edged sword that cuts into the development value of finished schemes. The progression of schemes in these locations often depends, therefore, on the financial involvement (and ambition) of the local authority and availability of Government funding.

Bolton is around 10 miles north west of Manchester. It has close proximity to the M60 and M61 and is a 15-20 minute train journey into Manchester city centre. Once one of the region’s largest textile towns, its economy is now based around light manufacturing, services and logistics. Logistics North is said to be the largest live commercial development in the north west with over 3m sq.ft. of space. Bolton is also the only town in Greater Manchester other than Manchester and Salford to have a university.

Bolton’s wider regeneration masterplan aims to improve public areas, green spaces and multi-purpose opportunities to create a more attractive environment for everyone to enjoy, and regenerate Bolton in a sustainable way for future generations. The Bolton town centre masterplan has six key intervention areas, with Bolton Council establishing a £100m fund to attract private sector investment.

Church Wharf is a new neighbourhood in the centre of Bolton. Set alongside the River Croal, the £150m scheme will provide new homes and jobs and it plans to transform an underused piece of land into a thriving local community.

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