PROJECTED investment in the Bolton town centre masterplan has already risen to £1.2bn from a target of £1bn set last year.

But despite all the progress being made, town hall chiefs have been urged to be steadfast in their support of Bolton’s “exciting” £1bn masterplan when objections begin to be raised.

Amid the cross-party enthusiasm for the developing plan Cllr Guy Harkin warned that council members should be prepared to defend the project when opposition to the scheme inevitably rears its head.

He told fellow corporate resources and external scrutiny committee members that there would undoubtedly be “major disruption and major opposition” as the plan progresses.

Cllr Harkin said: “This is going to happen, it’s going to be very important that the council sticks together 60-nil in support of officers.

“It’s going to get tough and it mustn’t degenerate into a party-political bunfight. It’s very important we are all together across parties. When the going gets tough we are going to have to be right behind the officers. Some very difficult decisions will be extremely unpopular in the short term, but bring enormous benefits in the long term.

“Everyone says what a great idea it is but when it becomes a problem there’s going to be a lot of opposition. It’s very important that the councillors back the officers.”