BOLTON has missed out on £2 million of funding to create a vital link road to a town centre site earmarked for a huge transformation.

The council submitted a bid in July, asking the Government to invest in an access road to Church Wharf, which would come off the A666 and connect River Street to Church Bank via an existing green area.

However, the project is not among the schemes from across the country that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced will benefit from the £350 million National Productivity Investment Fund.

Under ambitious £1 billion plans to regenerate Bolton town centre, Church Wharf has been identified as the ideal spot for hundreds of new homes.

The planned link road — which the council says it still plans to build — would open up the site for development and direct traffic away from the congested Bradshawgate.

The 300m-long road, which would run parallel to the A666, had been earmarked for an October, 2019 opening.

Only two projects in Greater Manchester were given funding from the Government pot — improvements to the A560 in Stockport and Manchester's Mancunian Way.

Of the 11 local schemes included in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority's bid, the Church Wharf road was ranked as the cheapest and least important.

A council spokesman said: “We are disappointed at not receiving this funding but this will not affect our plans for Church Wharf and alternative options for funding the link road will be investigated.”

Cllr David Chadwick added: "It is still our intention to build this road, but it would have been good to have some Government funding to kickstart this development.

"We are going to find alternative sources of funding, but it would have been good to see the Government supporting us.

"There are going to be hundreds more homes in that area, so it is a very sensible idea to put a new link road into that part of the town centre."

Church Wharf is expected to be one of the first areas developed as part of the council's masterplan, which town hall boss Stephen Young pitched to a room of international investors at 10 Downing Street on Friday.