TWO “villages” for up to 1,000 students could be developed in the town centre, The Bolton News can reveal.
The University of Bolton is in talks with Bolton Council to identify a suitable site for the two halls of residence to add to the growing amount of student accommodation available in the town centre.
There are a number of potential locations being considered, including land behind Le Mans Crescent.
Leaders at the University of Bolton say the plans would “enhance” the town centre.
They have been working with the council over the multi-million pound project for about six months and a feasibility study is being carried out to see if the idea is financially viable.
The council says the two villages would provide facilities for students — and encourage them to use the town centre.
A council spokesman said: “We are working with the University of Bolton to look at the options for an academic village in the town centre.
“Talks are at an early stage, and we are examining the feasibility and deliverability of such a scheme with the university and other partners.”
Cllr Nick Peel, cabinet member for environmental services, said student accommodation formed part of plans for the town centre.
And the plans — together with those for two cinemas and the refurbishment of the market — would attract more visitors to Bolton.
Cllr Peel said: “We have been looking at ways in which to increase the diversity of those using the town centre and more student accommodation in the town centre is part of that strategy.
“Students are more likely to spend money locally and that means there will be more money being spent on entertainment in the town centre.
“Students will add to the atmosphere to the town centre and I think with the different groups of people using the town centre and with the market, Market Place and Crompton Place Shopping Centre, which bring people into the town, more businesses will be attracted to Bolton.”
The University of Bolton currently has two halls of residence — Orlando Village and The Hollins — providing a total 700 bedrooms.
It is not clear whether they would remain as part of the potential new development.
The Pack Horse Hotel in the town centre was converted into student flats equipped with en-suite bedrooms and televisions, a gym and a common room complete with leather sofas, table tennis and football tables, and a big-screen video projector.
And the £9 million new Cube building will have 216 rooms and is marketed as delivering luxury living.
Work is expected to be completed by summer, with the first wave of new tenants set to arrive in September.
No details have been released on how the two new “student villages” would compare to the private flats.
A spokesman for the University of Bolton added: “We are looking at options for two new student villages which would enhance the town centre. Discussions are at early stages.”