WORK on the £48 million transport interchange and the overhaul of Bolton Market will be among the highlights of the coming year, says the borough’s development chief.

Keith Davies, Bolton Council’s director of development and regeneration, said the country’s bleak economic situation was continuing to affect the borough, but said firms were still growing despite the challenges they face.

He added that losing out on city status and the visit of the Olympic torch were among the highs and lows of 2012.

He said: “2012 was a very eventful year for Bolton.

“Witnessing the spectacle of the Olympic torch relay in Bolton was truly a historic day.

“There was an incredible atmosphere in the town, and it was amazing to see thousands of residents lining the streets and at the evening concert.

“It was a huge logistical challenge, but thanks to the hard work of a lot of people it came together and we had a fantastic two days.

“The success of the torch relay took away some of the upset at Bolton not being awarded city status, which was announced earlier in the year.

“We put in a bid for the official recognition, which we believe Bolton rightly deserved, so we were naturally disappointed not to have been selected.

“However, I’m confident that Bolton will continue to go from strength to strength and we are continuing to strive to make this happen.”

He said: “In 2012 we saw the opening of Bolton One, our £30.6 million health, leisure and research centre.

“This 21st century facility was a major project, and the council delivered on its promise to provide a town centre pool to replace the former Water Place facility.

“Of course the challenging economic climate is continuing to affect Bolton, like every town across the country. Nationally the economy is not beginning to show signs of recovery and this is affecting businesses locally.

“It also has huge implications for the council in terms of cuts that it has to make.

“However, some local companies are continuing to grow despite the economic climate.

“Businesses such as DRL, Scan Computing, Keogh’s and ASONS show that Bolton’s businesses can do well, which is a good sign for our local economy.

“We are working hard despite the challenges to attract people to Bolton.Events like the Ironman Triathlon and the Food and Drink Festival continue to attract thousands of visitors to Bolton.

“In the last few months, our £4.5 million Bolton Market refurbishment project has really moved on. The contractors have now been appointed, and in 2013, we will be cracking on to make our award-winning market even better for years to come.

“In 2013, we will also press on with the delivery of the transport interchange.

“We’ve managed to get the final approvals required for this hugely complex project. The interchange is a key part of our town centre development programme and the project will see a brand new bus station built next to Bolton railway station.”