CELEBRITY superstars Hollywood actor Colin Farrell and U2 drummer Larry Mullen have splashed out £3 million on a new apartment block in Bolton.

The bad-boy actor and the rock legend have jointly bought "The Anvil", a 26-apartment town centre development on the corner of Silverwell Lane and Clive Street.

Their 20,000 sq ft block, which reaches six-storeys, was completed by developer Woodthorpe Homes in June on a site which was formerly a private car park.

The apartments, which are expected to be rented out by the Irish duo, each include an open plan living and dining area, two bedrooms and a balcony.

The multi millionaires are also property investors in Ireland and the USA, but it is believed to be their first acquisition in the North of England.

Their high profile purchase has been welcomed as a major boost to Bolton's status as an up and coming investment location.

At least £600 million in private investment is planned over the next ten years and is expected to create 12,000 new jobs.

Alan Hegarty, development director at Woodthorpe Homes, said he was "delighted" the scheme had attracted such prestigious buyers and told how the stars were alerted to the development.

He said one of his colleagues had met a financial advisor from Irish company Galvin Investments at a property launch dinner in Dublin.

"We were trying to sell Bolton to him and had an idea he represented some wealthy individuals but we didn't know who until he came back and said they were interested," said Mr Hegarty.

"Our solicitors met them and they came over and had a look at the apartments themselves.

"Colin and Larry were attracted to buy in Bolton by its location close to Manchester, the motorway network, and on the edge of the stunning West Pennine Moors.

"They were also attracted by the large-scale regeneration of the town centre."

Mr Hegarty said he hoped the duo would reserve a couple of apartments for their own use.

"We have been told they are football fans and will find the location handy for going to matches at Old Trafford," he said.

He added that Bolton's location and regeneration plans were attracting young, affluent professionals to the town.

Mr Hegarty said he believed they would be keen to let apartments in the block, which was named "The Anvil" because the site was occupied by a blacksmith decades ago.

Cllr Akhtar Zaman, Bolton Council's executive member for regeneration, said: "We have a large number of Bolton-born celebrities who love the town, such as Peter Kay, Vernon Kay and Dave Spikey.

"But we're delighted that it's also become popular with a couple of international stars.

"This demonstrates Bolton's importance as a regional economic centre and top investment destination."

Plans for the town include a £300 million Innovation Zone, including a cultural quarter around Le Mans Crescent and a creative arts centre.

A £100 million redevelopment of Central Street is planned, while Church Wharf will receive a £200 million facelift including a multi-screen cinema, a hotel, offices, bars and nearly 600 homes.

A second phase of the Woodthorpe Homes scheme will see an office block opposite "The Anvil" converted to create 52 more apartments.

Four retail units will remain on the ground floor and the company is now talking to council planners about the possibility of adding office space and car parking.

In June, Woodthorpe received planning permission for an 11-storey hotel, new apartments and a retail and office complex at the former Odeon cinema site off Ashburner Street.