Town gets £13m ‘game-changing' boost

7 Jan 2021 11:33
Published by: Scott Callan

PLANS to transform Farnworth's high street have been given a massive boost with a £13.3million government cash award.

Bolton Council's bid for money from the government's Future High Streets Fund was one of only 50 in the country to get through to the final stage.

Council leader David Greenhalgh said: "This will be a game changer for Farnworth. This substantial investment will be the beginning of the town realising its ambition and potential."

The news comes just a few weeks after social impact developer Capital & Centric unveiled its £50m vision to redevelop the former market precinct in Farnworth town centre.

The £1bn High Streets fund was set up by the government to make high streets and town centres fit for the future.
The council did not receive the full £19.2m that it had asked for, however it has welcomed the award and will now be working to finalise proposals for the regeneration plan.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: "We fought hard to sell this scheme. I've shown ministers round and spoken about Farnworth town centre in the highest places within government and I am delighted with the result.
"Of course, we would have liked to have received the full sum, but I think given the current position of the country's finances, this amount is still significant.

"It demonstrates, despite the huge pressures at the moment, the government's commitment to the ‘levelling up' of the North.

"It was important that the Farnworth masterplan was led and determined by local people, and I want to pay tribute to the Chairman of the Steering Group, Cllr Paul Sanders, who has led from the front believing in the vision for his town."

Bolton Council adopted a masterplan for the area in July 2019 following a consultation with residents.
?The document sets out objectives for the town centre including a new community and civic hub in the heart of Farnworth, improved public realm and redeveloping the market precinct.

Cllr Sanders, said: "This is a historic day for Farnworth and amazing news for our residents. I want to thank my fellow Farnworthians and Kearsleyites for keeping the faith.

"Typically, awards from the fund are between £10 and £15 million, and I am pleased that our award is at the higher end of that range.

"This is a massive achievement and this money will really help us in making our ambitions a reality."

The council's deal with Capital & Centric aims to transform the site into a vibrant community with 200 modern new homes, centred around a new public square for artisan markets, live events and more.

Consultation is set to start in the new year on the Capital & Centric plans.

Council deputy leader Martyn Cox said: "We are committed to supporting town centres across the borough and £16m has already been allocated to support the regeneration of Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton town centres."


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