FARNWORTHIANS are being urged to “have their say” on the future of their town centre ahead of the launch of a public consultation.

Cllr Jean Gillies says it is “imperative” residents of all age groups and needs get involved in shaping Farnworth and put forward their ideas on how it should develop over the years to come.

Bolton Council chiefs nominated Farnworth for Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s town Town Centre Challenge last year.

And leader Linda Thomas declared its regeneration as the authority’s “top priority” in February and A steering committee has already held preliminary meetings.

Cllr Gillies is calling on people to come forward with their views when a “wider consultation” which will begin soon.

She said: “What we are saying now is that it’s absolutely imperative that people in Farnworth have their say and we need to make sure that the most vulnerable people have their voices heard if they can’t get to the consultation meetings.

“The quicker we get people on board, the quicker we can get going, the quicker we can get going and people can start putting their ideas forward.”

And Cllr Gillies also stressed the importance of people of all ages getting involved in the consultation process.

She added: “I think about the generations coming up, the 17,18, 19 and 20-year-olds – what are they going to want in the future? They don’t shop like we do, we need to make sure we….

“It’s not good us saying we want it the same as 30 years or 50 years ago, it’s not going to happen again, people’s spending power has changed and people shop online. It’s important every age group gets involved.

“We have to look not just at the present, but at the future and future generations coming up and how it’s going to work for them. It’s our legacy we will be leaving them.

“It’s got to work and work for a long time because in a few years time we’re not going to be here. We have to think about the younger ones, not just what we want, because things change all the time.”

Fellow ward councillor Maureen Flitcroft, of Farnworth and Kearsley First said she agreed with Cllr Gillies it was important to consult with as wide a range of people as possible.

But she added she would like to see more detail coming forward about Bolton Council’s strategy for the town, given Farnworth was announced as Bolton’s nominee for the challenge in February.

“I know it’s early days but there are no figures and no timescale,” she said.

“We don’t have any details on any financial commitment. They borrow all this money for the Bolton town centre masterplan. I’m wondering if they’ve maxed-out the credit card, meaning there’s nothing left for Farnworth. The lack of detail makes you wonder.”

Cllr Flitcroft, who is on the steering committee alongside Cllr Gillies, said: “It would be lovely to see Farnworth redeveloped and brought back to life, and I understand there’s going to be change, it can’t all be retail as it’s not sustainable and we do have to change with shopping habits.

“My personal thing is I would like to see some form of market back in Farnworth, a fully functioning health centre and some public toilets.”

Cllr Gillies is inviting anyone who wants to contribute their views to email her at jean.gillies@bolton.gov.uk and she will pass their details on to the consultation team.