EIGHTY jobs look set to be created after a major restaurant chain applied for permission to open at the Middlebrook.


TGI Fridays has asked Bolton Council for planning permission to turn the current Next ladies store into a restaurant.


A letter submitted to the council as part of the plans states that the American-style restaurant will create 80 jobs.


The restaurant will open in 2018, subject to approval.


All three of the current Next units at Middlebrook are set to move to a new flagship store on land bordered by The Linkway and Aspinall Way.


The Next women’s unit is located at the front of the mall area.


The application is seeking permission to change the units from shop to a restaurant use, including takeaway and delivery services and an external seating area.


A cover letter from Graham Bee, group planning manager at The Emerson Group, the company that has submitted the application on behalf of TGI Fridays, said that the external seating area would be used for food and drinks.


The letter states: “Approval of the application would see the creation of around 80 jobs.


“Next is moving to its new, larger unit at Middlebrook in the very near future, so existing staff can also be relocated.


“TGI Fridays would be an excellent restaurant offer to have at Middlebrook and would be entirely complementary to the retail, restaurant and leisure uses that already exist.”


Next’s move to its £12 million superstore will see all staff currently working at the Middlebrook units move across to the 2,731sqm site. It will employ 220 people and will offer any additional roles to local residents.


TGI Fridays is currently in the process of introducing a to-go menu in the UK, and the application will allow this to be carried out from the Middlebrook site once it opens its doors.


Robert Hallworth, centre manager at Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park, said he was delighted with the developments.


He said: “It is part of the new Next flagship store that is going up.


“We’ve got interest in every site that Next is leaving. The first one that is going to be signed for is TGI Fridays which will compliment the mix of restaurants and leisure opportunities that we have got up here.


“We’re very pleased. We’re extremely positive going forward.”


TGI Fridays has around 50 restaurants in the UK, with the nearest to Bolton currently in Prestwich and at the Trafford Centre.