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Still Waters Run Deep: Is This Where Bolton's Stalled £1B Revamp Finally Gets Going?

Site Of The Church Wharf Development at The River Croal, Bolton

Ten years after it was first floated, Bolton Council is reviving £210M plans for the riverside Church Wharf site.

In 2008 Manchester developer Ask and Cheshire-based partner Bluemantle won planning permission for 340K SF of offices, a hotel, cinema and 720 apartments on a 13-acre site on the banks of the River Croal. Although part of the site was cleared in 2014 the development has not taken place.

Now Bolton council is inviting comment on a revised strategic framework for the site, which is intended to be the centrepiece of a £1B regeneration plan.

The draft Supplementary Planning Document reduces the number of apartments to 400, proposes an "iconic tower" at Folds Road/Bow Street and re-affirms the emphasis on employment uses on the site.

The document will provide design guidance for the redevelopment of the area, which includes land bounded by St. Peters Way, the River Croal, Manor Street, Bank Street and Folds Road.

Bolton council is reported to be in talks with developers, although no details have been disclosed.

The scheme could benefit from £2M funding allocated from a £45M bid by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to the government's National Productivity Investment Fund. If successful, the funding would provide a 300-metre access road from the A666 connecting the site.

The wider Bolton plan involves five sites. The council has already approved £100M borrowing to help kick-start development at Trinity Quarter, Cheadle Square, Crompton Place, Church Wharf and Croal Valley.

Late last year the Bolton News reported that buyers were circling the troubled Crompton Place shopping centre.