Future of Bolton's town centre charity canopy under threat
BOLTON’S charity canopy in Victoria Square could disappear as part of plans to redesign the town centre — with Bolton Council chiefs stopping short of guaranteeing its future.
The council this month unveiled plans to spend £1 million transforming Newport Street into a “European-style boulevard” — and the canopy may not survive the revamp.
The canopy has stood at the end of the street since 1984 and numerous volunteer organisations trade there to raise cash.
Last year Bradshaw Conservative councillor Mudasir Dean spoke out after a decision to put a Christmas grotto under the canopy during the festive season, leaving regular traders out in the cold.
And at a meeting of full council on Wednesday evening, he raised the canopy’s future again, this time drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King on the 50th anniversary of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech — a move which drew some groans from the Labour benches.
He said: “On the 50th anniversary of the famous speech and in the words of Martin Luther King, I have a dream. That dream is to see Bolton as the North West’s premier town centre.
“We welcome the positive developments being looked at to regenerate Newport Street. Can the leader assure us and local charities that the future of the charity canopy is secure.
“And can the council confirm that a full refurbishment of the canopy will be part of the proposed Newport Street improvements?” Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said the council would look at various designs for Newport Street but refused to guarantee the future of the canopy.
He said: “We all have the same dream. We plan to start the work in 2014 and we’ll be looking at various schemes which will then come to the council.”
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