DEVELOPERS looking to spend millions redeveloping the Market Place shopping centre have had to apply for special permission — to move four out-of-use public telephones.
The K6 red telephone boxes in Bridge Street have grade-II listed status, meaning they are protected as ‘street furniture’ of special architectural or historic interest.
Now Moorgarth, the owner of the Market Place, has had to apply to move them before it can start the new phase of its ambitious plans for the shopping centre.
It wants to shift the boxes — which have been sealed closed — to another as yet undisclosed location in the town centre to make way for a ‘click and collect’ car park with 20 spaces off Bridge Street and Corporation Street.
On Thursday, Moorgarth will also find out whether councillors will back its vision for the shopping centre’s vaults, as they look to turn them into restaurant and bar units.
It received permission to build a nine-screen cinema in the centre back in January, as part of a major regeneration bid.
The former public toilets in Bridge Street will also be demolished under the latest plans to create new space for new restaurants.
Recommending approval of the scheme, council planning officer Jodie Turton said in her report that the rehaul of the Market Place would benefit the whole of Bolton town centre.
“The re-use of the redundant public toilets will have a positive impact on the character and appearance of the area, providing an active frontage to the currently underutilised area, which is dominated by bus stops”, she said.
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“However, although the development proposal will result in the loss of the listed telephone boxes, these are to be relocated elsewhere in the town centre and their loss from this location, which it should be noted is not their original setting, is not considered to have a detrimental impact of the character of the area or wider conservation area.”
A bid by Crompton Place shopping centre to create an 11-screen multiplex cinema, with a range of restaurants, cafes and bars, is set to be discussed at next month’s meeting of the planning committee.