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  • "Many misinformed comments on here.
    Firstly, councillors do not plan or indeed have any input into the development of the town centre, they vote for or against any expenditure for improvements i.e. pavements, cleaning council building and so on. The vast majority of business and car parking in the town is by private companies, most of whom do their best not to pay tax. For some reason Tory voters seem to think this is ok and look to heap all the blame for derelict, eye-sore private buildings on the council.

    Davood wants the Market Hall back to how it was and asks Cliff Morris what happened to all the money?
    Well people have short (very) memories. The Market Hall at the end, was in need of major strutural investment, had the council paid for the work it would have cost millions. Half the stalls were empty and getting fewer each month.
    What happened to all the money? What money, there was none but so what we'll just slag-off the council anyway."
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Bolton town centre 'is a mess'

A ROW has erupted between one of Bolton’s Labour MPs — who branded the town centre “a disgrace” — and the leader of the council.

David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, made the claims after he was criticised for publishing a political pamphlet with a picture of empty shops in Bolton town centre headlined “closed for business”.

The Boltonian pamphlet claimed government policies were sending people “from the town centre to the JobCentre”.

Mr Crausby told The Bolton News: “The town centre is a disgrace.

“It’s in a mess and we need to pull together and do something about it.

“The reason for it is the state of the economy. I’ve been going on about this for years and years, with the rise of internet shopping and we’re facing a triple-dip recession.

“We need to take action and we need a long-term plan.”

But Bolton Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris called on the MP to get behind the town.

Cllr Morris said: “We don’t think it’s helpful to talk the town centre down. We shouldn’t forget 20,000 people work in the town centre.

“Bolton is actually holding its own compared with our comparable rivals, and we work with businesses to try to attract investment.

“The coalition’s economic policies are hurting the town centre, because people’s spending powers have been reduced due to wage freezes and high VAT on goods.

“We know that the town centre faces a significant challenge and will have to restructure to reflect the changed economy and customers shopping habits.

“We have put a strategy in place, which we believe responds to these challenges.”

Mr Crausby has now spoken to Bolton Council’s director of regeneration, Keith Davies, about the issue.

The MP said: “I’ve met with Keith Davies and told him what I think.

“I don’t think the solution is to have more town centre shopping and more town centre living.

“We need more green space, more industry and leisure in the town centre.”

Mr Crausby’s pamphlet was first criticised by Conservative Bradshaw councillor Mudasir Dean, who said the town’s Tory group had been previously attacked by Bolton Council’s ruling Labour Party in the past for calling for more action to regenerate the town centre.

He claimed Bolton’s Labour Party was sending out “mixed messages”.

At a council meeting in October, Astley Bridge Conservative Cllr John Walsh was jeered by the Labour benches, branded “a dinosaur” and accused of “bashing Bolton” after he called for a debate on town centre regeneration.

Cllr Dean said: “Whenever the Conservatives have tried to contribute by offering positive ideas to improve our town centre, we have always been accused of “knocking the town centre and not supporting it” — these were the exact words of the Labour leader Cliff Morris at a council meeting.

“The Boltonian has been sent out headlined Closed for Business — and if this is not knocking the town centre then what is?

“I suggest Mr Morris and Mr Crausby work out a single message they want to give the people of Bolton on this sensitive matter.”

Bolton’s Conservative leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh added: “I suggest Cllr Morris has a word with Mr Crausby to get him on message.”

Cllr Morris said: “We’ve given this message to the Tories, and we’d ask David Crausby to also support our town centre, rather than knock it.”

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