Conservatives welcome business grant plan to entice traders back to Bolton town centre
PLANS to entice traders to the town centre with £20,000 grants have been welcomed by Bolton’s Conservative group.
Conservative leader Cllr David Greenhalgh said the group would “welcome any initiative that would increase footfall in the town centre and improve what Bolton has to offer”.
The Bolton News revealed that council chiefs are planning to offer businesses grants in an attempt to fill empty units in the town centre and create a more “vibrant” atmosphere for families to enjoy.
The council has set aside £1.5 million of funding for the scheme — which still needs to be passed at a meeting of the cabinet on October 14.
Cllr Greenhalgh said that although he welcomes the proposals — they could go further.
He said: “I think it is important that the shops that have stayed in the town centre are not neglected.
“I also think it is important that we offer incentives to flagship retailers to move to the centre because often small, independent businesses will follow them. I know Manchester is a different place altogether, but that idea has worked there.”
The council is hoping to attract restaurants and cafes to the area in the hope of persuading shoppers to stay in the town centre after 5pm and Cllr Greenhalgh thinks that could improve the “overall package” that Bolton is offering to people.
He said: “Now that the ruling party have finally listened to us on the issue of free parking, there is clearly going to more of an incentive for people to stay.”
Crompton Place shopping centre manager Malcolm Angus said he hoped the scheme would “revitalise” the town centre.
He said: “Since the market traders left the Market Hall there has been a steady decline in the area and we would really welcome any proactive approach to increased footfall that will directly benefit any retailer in the town centre.”
The council also hopes greengrocers and music shops will be tempted back to the town centre.
The one-off money comes from a funding pot set aside by the council for improvements to the town centre. It is hoped the scheme will bring back some businesses who have previously left.
The proposals have been welcomed by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Market Place Shopping Centre.
Grants will not be available for takeaways, pound shops or bookmakers.
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