BOLTON Wanderers’ bid to build a £100 million sport, education and office development look set to be approved tomorrow.
The club announced last year its plans to create a new free sports academy, 200 apartments, a 60-bed hotel and huge office block with restaurants and hospitality suites as part of a grand “Middlebrook Masterplan”.
Also included in the scheme, submitted by Wanderers owners Burnden Leisure and the Bolton Middlebrook Leisure Trust, are plans to upgrade and reconfigure the Reebok Stadium, which is soon to be renamed the Macron Stadium.
The application was set to be decided in December, but councillors deferred a decision until more information was provided about the likely impact on traffic.
The town councils of Horwich, Blackrod and Westhoughton also objected to the application on these grounds — given there are plans in the pipeline for 1,700 homes at the former site of the Horwich Loco Works, as well as the approved Logistics North industrial development.
A report ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the planning committee has recommended councillors approve the plans, despite fears it could affect other developments including the Church Wharf regeneration in the town centre, if a series of road improvements was agreed.
Planning officer Jon Berry said: “Officers consider that the scale, type and proportions of the uses proposed are compatible with the surrounding area and are unlikely to have any undue impact on Bolton town centre or other centres in the borough.
"The development would provide much needed investment and employment opportunities together with improvements to education, leisure and wider community facilities in an urban setting and in a sustainable location, all of which is broadly supported by current development plan policy.”
Improvements would be needed at the Spirit of Sport roundabout, the junction of Burnden Way and Stadium Way, the widening of the approach to junction six of the M61 and extending the De-Havilland Way and Chorley Road roundabout, officers stated.
- Follow our live blog from the planning meeting, which is due to start at 2pm tomorrow.