In 2017, 88% of readers of the Bolton News voted that Bolton was in need of a town centre transformation. The Masterplan that is currently underway will not disappoint them. Stretched across five main sites, the planners truly have thought of everything and managed to come up with something for everyone. With a growing university, a wealth of cultural and historical offerings and being well positioned to benefit from the under-construction HS2 railway, Bolton has a serious amount of untapped potential that is about to be addressed, and investors looking for the next big thing should consider property investment in Bolton.
The Masterplan hopes to attract families, professionals and students to the area and has provided a number of zones geared towards each demographic, but with an impressive focus on connectivity making it easy for people to move around within the town. Let’s take a look at the main areas of development:
The jewel in the crown of the masterplan is the Trinity Quarter development. Being touted as the new gateway to the city, this will see the creation of three distinct zones arranged in squares and linked together for easy navigation.
Creating 30,000sq ft of office space aims to attract new and existing businesses to the commercial zone. The residential zone will house 150 new apartments, providing a perfect spot for accommodation for young professionals and commuters seeking to take advantage of the brilliant transport interchange. The mixed use zone will include a multi-storey car park and provide a direct link to the services offered by the new travel interchange that is already open and serving locals and visitors. Within the interchange people can access the train, bus facilities and take advantage of a substantial amount of bike storage.
£45million has been set aside for this element of the regeneration project and the initial drawings look like it will be worth every penny.
Cheadle Square is the home of many cultural and historical attractions, in the heart of Bolton city centre. It will encompass the Town Hall, Bolton Museum, the Civic Centre and other architectural delights that are loved by visitors and residents alike. The site of the former bus station will be utilised, there will be new office and retail spaces and a new residential area will be sympathetically built to fit in and complement the existing buildings.
The accommodation being built will include high-end housing and student accommodation for those studying at the nearby university. The University of Bolton aims to have 20,000 students on campus this year, adding to the vibrant local population and bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and ideas. There is a real focus within the university to produce highly skilled and employable graduates who can go on to contribute greatly to the local community and economy.
Crompton Place is a shopping centre that will be receiving some well-needed attention to bring it up to the same high standard as the rest of the town. This particular part of the Masterplan project has caught the eye of many outside investors, with £250million already agreed in principle. There are plans to breathe life into the currently unused spaces by encouraging workshops and other community-centred uses, so that the existing buildings can be maximised where possible.
The shopping centre was purchased by the council for £14.8m in June 2018 and its regeneration will be the first phase of the Bolton development overhaul. Following the running theme of connectivity and accessibility between the city centre spaces, Crompton Place will be linked to other key sites to increase footfall and drive success.
Church Wharf – riverside neighbourhood
The river Croal will be gaining a £150m new neighbourhood along its banks. The Church Wharf intervention site is currently underused and squandering its potential, making the plans for creating a buzzing new community even more exciting. It will be a residential-lead development with the potential for a variety of food and leisure offerings in a historical riverside location.
Church Wharf isn’t the only development happening along the river Croal; Croal Valley will see riverside apartments and townhouses overlooking stunning green spaces. Low density housing will populate the area to the west near Queen’s Park, building up to the water’s edge where the focus will be on apartments with an urban feel. It is set to offer a dynamic contribution to the masterplan’s 2000+ new homes.
In addition to these major development areas, there are a number of other projects occurring on the periphery. In the town centre, the Octagon theatre is going to be revamped and improved. Currently bringing in over 70,000 visitors per year, the new plans will make it even more accessible and improve the amount of time and space available for community groups. When completed, the Octagon will help drive tourism in Bolton and be an on-going source of world-class arts and entertainment. The University also has plans to invest £35bn in improving their facilities so they can continue to compete for the attendance of talented young people. As a result of the current plans, there are now additional plans being created in other areas of Bolton.
The regeneration plans started with a £100m promise from the local authority and high hopes that it would attract £1bn of private investment. They have already surpassed this goal and are currently working with pledged figures of around £1.5bn, which may still rise. It was initially projected that Bolton Council’s spending plans would result in a boost of around £4.6bn and with investment pouring in it looks like they could also surpass this prediction.
This series of projects will completely revolutionise the Bolton town centre experience, enticing more visitors to the region and creating a myriad of opportunities for residents and investors. If you’re looking to build a portfolio in an up-and-coming town then this could be the place for you – plans are set, the money is there, work is now getting underway. Thanks to this Masterplan, Bolton is booming.