A HUGE scaffolding structure has been put up inside the Market Place shopping centre, as work to create a new cinema gathers pace.

Construction firm McLaren will build a new nine-screen cinema at the shopping centre and is in the process of building an huge crane in Bridge Street to carry out the job.

The firm has now placed scaffolding inside the centre to allow workers to access site where the cinema will be created.

Work to build the 123 metre crane is expected to continue next week, with the machine then being used to lift the large steel structures for the cinema building onto the shopping centre.

The cinema project forms part of the £19 million redevelopment plans for the Market Place, funded by owners the Moorgarth Group.

Work is also ongoing to refurbish the historic Victorian vaults beneath the building which will eventually house bars and restaurants.

The cinema is expected to open to the public in December, with the overall regenerated centre due to open in January next year.

The Market Place development forms a key part in Bolton Council's vision for the town centre and ties in with plans including the creation of a new transport interchange near to Bolton train station.

The authority's director of development and regeneration Keith Davies said: "The cinema is actually at the heart of the restructuring of the town centre because it will provide that family entertainment venue that people have felt has been a gap in the town centre offer for many years.

"The restaurants that are being built in the vaults areas will be fantastic additions to what is being offered to visitors to the town centre.

"The whole project is a really visible part of the overall regeneration process that will be taking shape in Bolton town centre over the next 12 months and beyond."