Only two businesses get grants to open shops in Bolton town centre - from 50 applicants

Churchgate in Bolton town centre

Churchgate in Bolton town centre

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , politics reporter

ONLY two businesses have taken advantage of a £20,000 grant scheme to open shops in the town centre, it has emerged.

But town hall chiefs have defended the take-up rate - saying they want to make sure they are giving taxpayers’ money to “sustainable firms”.

Since October Bolton Council has been offering grants of up to £20,000 for entrepreneurs to open businesses, with Elite Dress Agency and Vegas Boutique now trading as a result.

Another 16 firms are in the process of completing business plans.

However, opposition councillors have raised concerns that more needs to be done to boost business in Bolton.

There have been 164 inquiries about the scheme, of which 50 formal expressions of interest have been submitted for consideration.

Conservatives leader Cllr David Greenhalgh said: “What is happening to all these people showing interest?

“Two take-ups after all that seems very little from more than 160 inquiries.

“The council is providing the support, but for only two businesses to be trading suggests that there’s something we have to look at.

“We need business in our town centre, and we need to support people who want to open businesses here in Bolton.”

Of the 50 expressions of interest, 16 firms — including delis, boutiques and beauty salons — are being actively taken forward, with applicants finishing off their business plans or securing leases.

Keith Davies, Bolton’s director of development and regeneration, said another 20 were being offered support with business plans. A further 12 applications have been rejected or withdrawn.

A pot of £1.5 million has been set aside for the scheme, and applicants can ask for more than £20,000 if they meet more stringent criteria.

Mr Davies stressed that it was important that grants were provided to sustainable businesses, so as not to waste money on ventures that could fail in a few months.

The “vast majority” of expressions of interest have been submitted by people with limited business experience, meaning they have needed time and support with developing their ideas, he added.

He said: “This is about sustainability for the town centre. We have to make sure we attract the right types of business, and it’s all part of the long-term game — giving people the opportunity to start their own business, and be sustainable in the long term.”

Comments (18)

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10:21am Fri 11 Jul 14

allan111111 says...

The council have never been one for helping businesses....too busy lining their own pockets
The council have never been one for helping businesses....too busy lining their own pockets allan111111
  • Score: 27

10:41am Fri 11 Jul 14

Ben1958 says...

never mind helping businesses, when do the council help anybody?
never mind helping businesses, when do the council help anybody? Ben1958
  • Score: 28

10:47am Fri 11 Jul 14

thomas222 says...

Wonder why the Elite Dress Agency has no details showing its Bolton shop on their website but show the two shops in the Manchester area?
Wonder why the Elite Dress Agency has no details showing its Bolton shop on their website but show the two shops in the Manchester area? thomas222
  • Score: 11

11:06am Fri 11 Jul 14

Terry McC says...

no one wants a shop in Bolton its great for twelve months then they will hiy you with Manchester city center rent and rates but with 10% of the shoppers greedy council who haven't got a clue come to Bolton pay a fortune in parking to do it get clamped get a ticket get lost i have visited all over and Bolton have not got a clue how to pull shoppers in try Wigan bury Blackburn Leigh Chorley all much better and much better parking all Bolton council want is a university town no one over the age of 25 wants to visit
no one wants a shop in Bolton its great for twelve months then they will hiy you with Manchester city center rent and rates but with 10% of the shoppers greedy council who haven't got a clue come to Bolton pay a fortune in parking to do it get clamped get a ticket get lost i have visited all over and Bolton have not got a clue how to pull shoppers in try Wigan bury Blackburn Leigh Chorley all much better and much better parking all Bolton council want is a university town no one over the age of 25 wants to visit Terry McC
  • Score: 11

11:13am Fri 11 Jul 14

wsw69 says...

Keith Davies = a 100% waste of time and a parasite.

Bolton Council = 100% not fit for purpose.

Bolton town centre = 100% wrecked by Bolton Council.

Bolton town centre = a 100% complete 5h1th0le.

Bolton Council 'leader' Cliff 'the clueless stiff' Morris = 200%, and more, is fit for f**k all

Anyone with a grain of common sense or business nous wouldn't touch Bolton town centre with a bargepole.
Keith Davies = a 100% waste of time and a parasite. Bolton Council = 100% not fit for purpose. Bolton town centre = 100% wrecked by Bolton Council. Bolton town centre = a 100% complete 5h1th0le. Bolton Council 'leader' Cliff 'the clueless stiff' Morris = 200%, and more, is fit for f**k all Anyone with a grain of common sense or business nous wouldn't touch Bolton town centre with a bargepole. wsw69
  • Score: 47

11:19am Fri 11 Jul 14

exboard says...

Bolton don't seem to like small businesses!
Big ones they love.
Bolton don't seem to like small businesses! Big ones they love. exboard
  • Score: 15

12:07pm Fri 11 Jul 14

John Edwards says...

The only business for Bolton is a demolition firm to finish off what Bolton council started. Bolton has had it's heart ripped out by Morris and his cronies. Market Hall destroyed, Ashburner St, so called market, is not an indoor market, it's a shopping hall. The inner hall is shops, food and beer, the market is outside, and is cramped. Bolton council has a lot to learn before they can get anywhere near as good as the surrounding towns.
The only business for Bolton is a demolition firm to finish off what Bolton council started. Bolton has had it's heart ripped out by Morris and his cronies. Market Hall destroyed, Ashburner St, so called market, is not an indoor market, it's a shopping hall. The inner hall is shops, food and beer, the market is outside, and is cramped. Bolton council has a lot to learn before they can get anywhere near as good as the surrounding towns. John Edwards
  • Score: 16

12:10pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Chrome1 says...

From a totally neutral point of view; you cannot introduce a new tranche of business in any area of town with the foundations laid first. At the moment, no matter what attempts you make to fill Bradshawgate and Churchgate with thriving consumerism, you will be hindered by the fact that it is full of pubs and grimy bars. Big national chains won't be tempted at all to set foot in these areas. The Council's startegy should be to shoehorn small businesses as well as local nationally recognisable stores side by side. It's not going to work any other way. We all like to give local business the chance but at the same time we like to shop at the big stores too. I don't think people would make the trip round to B/gate an C/gate if what was on offer was niche-market businesses. That's why St Andrews's court is a ghost-area. We need a god mix of naional stores as well as local businesses. They don't have to compete but trade amiably next to each other. A lot of towns have this. As Bolton does not have any tourism (no Bolton Council, visitors to weddings and football matches don't count) it must rely on repeat visitors who tend to be local. London, Bath, Manchester, York etc can afford to be expensive because it has a high tourist footfall. Bolton Market has a very 'old' image. It's not vibrant enough. The Market Place is heading in the right direction. We need proper Council investment and a well though out plan. Offer free business rates for big companies. Bite the bullet for a couple of years. Get me into your panel of thinkers. Have a big bold strategy that is realistic for the long term. Ok, I've said my piece.
From a totally neutral point of view; you cannot introduce a new tranche of business in any area of town with the foundations laid first. At the moment, no matter what attempts you make to fill Bradshawgate and Churchgate with thriving consumerism, you will be hindered by the fact that it is full of pubs and grimy bars. Big national chains won't be tempted at all to set foot in these areas. The Council's startegy should be to shoehorn small businesses as well as local nationally recognisable stores side by side. It's not going to work any other way. We all like to give local business the chance but at the same time we like to shop at the big stores too. I don't think people would make the trip round to B/gate an C/gate if what was on offer was niche-market businesses. That's why St Andrews's court is a ghost-area. We need a god mix of naional stores as well as local businesses. They don't have to compete but trade amiably next to each other. A lot of towns have this. As Bolton does not have any tourism (no Bolton Council, visitors to weddings and football matches don't count) it must rely on repeat visitors who tend to be local. London, Bath, Manchester, York etc can afford to be expensive because it has a high tourist footfall. Bolton Market has a very 'old' image. It's not vibrant enough. The Market Place is heading in the right direction. We need proper Council investment and a well though out plan. Offer free business rates for big companies. Bite the bullet for a couple of years. Get me into your panel of thinkers. Have a big bold strategy that is realistic for the long term. Ok, I've said my piece. Chrome1
  • Score: 11

12:22pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Thatissowrong says...

And which employees of the council have the business experience and acumen to read and understand a business plan? What a joke.
And which employees of the council have the business experience and acumen to read and understand a business plan? What a joke. Thatissowrong
  • Score: 11

1:16pm Fri 11 Jul 14

cliff4treasurer says...

Well it's like this, if I have ten toffees and give one to Jane that leaves eight so if I now give one to peter I have four left for myself to flog off so flogging eight toffees for me makes me a nice little earner,nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean guv?
Well it's like this, if I have ten toffees and give one to Jane that leaves eight so if I now give one to peter I have four left for myself to flog off so flogging eight toffees for me makes me a nice little earner,nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean guv? cliff4treasurer
  • Score: 4

1:29pm Fri 11 Jul 14

stereo_world says...

"But town hall chiefs have defended the take-up rate - saying they want to make sure they are giving taxpayers’ money to “sustainable firms”."

Yeah... good luck with that one. You're not going to attract anyone reputable without building from the bottom. I think the term "catch 22" applies here.
"But town hall chiefs have defended the take-up rate - saying they want to make sure they are giving taxpayers’ money to “sustainable firms”." Yeah... good luck with that one. You're not going to attract anyone reputable without building from the bottom. I think the term "catch 22" applies here. stereo_world
  • Score: 6

3:49pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Chrome1 says...

stereo_world wrote:
"But town hall chiefs have defended the take-up rate - saying they want to make sure they are giving taxpayers’ money to “sustainable firms”."

Yeah... good luck with that one. You're not going to attract anyone reputable without building from the bottom. I think the term "catch 22" applies here.
No it doesn't. The term catch 22 doesn't apply in your case.
[quote][p][bold]stereo_world[/bold] wrote: "But town hall chiefs have defended the take-up rate - saying they want to make sure they are giving taxpayers’ money to “sustainable firms”." Yeah... good luck with that one. You're not going to attract anyone reputable without building from the bottom. I think the term "catch 22" applies here.[/p][/quote]No it doesn't. The term catch 22 doesn't apply in your case. Chrome1
  • Score: -2

6:26pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Marzi30 says...

Keith Davies, he couldn't run a bath, total incompetent waste of space
Keith Davies, he couldn't run a bath, total incompetent waste of space Marzi30
  • Score: 8

7:28pm Fri 11 Jul 14

wsw69 says...

Marzi30 wrote:
Keith Davies, he couldn't run a bath, total incompetent waste of space
I agree 100%.

Sadly, he is in it with his other useless cronies, the likes of Nick Peel, Cliff 'the useless stiff' Morris, Sean Harriss to name but a few.

Never would one have thought so few could completely f**k up such a once great and respected town. The reality is that the professional muppet's have done so with 'flying colours'.

They should be facing a firing squad or a noose the parasites.
[quote][p][bold]Marzi30[/bold] wrote: Keith Davies, he couldn't run a bath, total incompetent waste of space[/p][/quote]I agree 100%. Sadly, he is in it with his other useless cronies, the likes of Nick Peel, Cliff 'the useless stiff' Morris, Sean Harriss to name but a few. Never would one have thought so few could completely f**k up such a once great and respected town. The reality is that the professional muppet's have done so with 'flying colours'. They should be facing a firing squad or a noose the parasites. wsw69
  • Score: 17

9:53pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Beyond News Forum says...

The market is terrible. The inside stalls look like cheaply put together cardboard toy town rubbish. No need for the central seating area. Outside are what look to be sardine tins or bosh bosh cheaply rendered shipping containers.

As for the town centre, £20,000 is not an incentive at all. The amount pales in the face of shopper footfall, levies and rent - it hardly seems worthwhile to take the £20k grant and spend £20k in time waiting for the application to process.

As for the council preaching about business acumen - priceless!
The market is terrible. The inside stalls look like cheaply put together cardboard toy town rubbish. No need for the central seating area. Outside are what look to be sardine tins or bosh bosh cheaply rendered shipping containers. As for the town centre, £20,000 is not an incentive at all. The amount pales in the face of shopper footfall, levies and rent - it hardly seems worthwhile to take the £20k grant and spend £20k in time waiting for the application to process. As for the council preaching about business acumen - priceless! Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 7

8:38am Sat 12 Jul 14

JustBecause says...

If they opened up the offer, I could use the cash to subsidise 2-3 full time jobs, but it's not available, as an established small business bolton council offer ZERO help for growth.

We are considering moving from Bolton altogether to a better supported town.
If they opened up the offer, I could use the cash to subsidise 2-3 full time jobs, but it's not available, as an established small business bolton council offer ZERO help for growth. We are considering moving from Bolton altogether to a better supported town. JustBecause
  • Score: 3

10:54am Sat 12 Jul 14

allan111111 says...

JustBecause wrote:
If they opened up the offer, I could use the cash to subsidise 2-3 full time jobs, but it's not available, as an established small business bolton council offer ZERO help for growth.

We are considering moving from Bolton altogether to a better supported town.
Try chorley
[quote][p][bold]JustBecause[/bold] wrote: If they opened up the offer, I could use the cash to subsidise 2-3 full time jobs, but it's not available, as an established small business bolton council offer ZERO help for growth. We are considering moving from Bolton altogether to a better supported town.[/p][/quote]Try chorley allan111111
  • Score: 3

1:19pm Sat 12 Jul 14

adatherton says...

Free rates until you get past, say, £20k annual profit per employee??
Free rates until you get past, say, £20k annual profit per employee?? adatherton
  • Score: 0

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