Town centre masterplan unveiled

13 Jan 2022 03:20
Published by: Scott Callan

MAJOR proposals to ensure that Bury town centre will thrive for decades to come have been revealed.

A new masterplan for the next 15-20 years has been drawn up which includes a transformational revamp of the centre, setting out proposals for repurposing the Mill Gate estate with new leisure, residential and business opportunities.

Significant development opportunities across the town centre have been outlined.

They include proposals for a new flexi hall, an improved market and a new transport interchange. Sites have also been identified for new residential town centre living as well as wider innovation, education and employment opportunities.

Council leader Eamonn O'Brien said: "Bury is the largest town centre in the borough and is the focal point for retail, leisure, administration, services, tourism and culture.

"The town centre has fared comparatively well in recent years, attracting significant investment and regeneration, and is one of the highest-ranking retail destinations in Greater Manchester.

"However, while Bury has performed well as a retail-led centre, there are significant ongoing changes happening, apart from the impact of Covid, on people's shopping habits.

Predictions suggest that there will be a 20-30 per cent drop in retail sales within town centres as more people shop online - something which the pandemic has accelerated.

"This means Bury cannot afford to stand still, and we need to plan for how we will adapt to the rapidly changing economic landscape facing high streets across the country."

The masterplan includes the creation of a "knowledge zone and the development of a 'cultural quarter'".

At the southern edge of the town centre, there is an opportunity to build on the existing leisure facilities, including the athletics track. The masterplan's architects say that could be a third option for a new purpose-built leisure facility or a multi-functional sports hall.

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