A NEW £9million car showroom - one of the first stages of a major gateway project - has opened in Bolton.

Bosses at Jardine Motors are celebrating after switching their base from the Mill Hill Industrial Estate to a new purpose-built facility in Grosvenor Street.

Land at the flagship site, off Manchester Road, had been vacant since 2011, after Bolton Community College moved to new premises in Deane Road.

The showroom development boasts display space for 12 new cars and an extended forecourt for 85 of their 'approved used' vehicles.

Mechanics will be be working in a new 22-bay workshop and there is also a 65-space car park for customers.

David Lucas, Audi's market area director, said: "Having outgrown our current site, the investment by Jardine Motors Group will ensure we continue to meet our high standards of customer service, courtesy of a flagship Audi brand experience.

"With a new vibrant feel, the state-of-the-art centre will help us provide an unequalled retail experience to local motorists.

"With the centre now open I would like to personally invite anyone interested to come along and see the fantastic facilities on offer.”

The original deal, part of Bolton Council's public sector partnership programme, was signed with Inchape and was described then as a 'real game changer' for the town. Jardine Motors acquired the Audi franchise in October 2017.

Demolition work on the former Williams BMW garage, just yards away from the new site and also fronting Manchester Road, was completed earlier this year.

No firm replacement is understood to have been identified for the location, which is in the hands of Empire Property Holdings.

Work is still ongoing to transform the nearby former Globe Works, which dates back to 1884, into 124 Manhattan-style apartments.

Originally the same building was known as the Glove Hosiery Works. It was rebuilt in 1929 by Hodgkinson and Gillbrand, which made knitted and crocheted hosiery.