A NEW independent body could be created by the Greater Manchester mayor to oversee Bolton town centre's regeneration plans.

Andy Burnham has offered Bolton the opportunity to set up a Mayoral Development Corporation to help move along the council's town centre masterplan.

Using the mayor's devolved powers, it could help to speed up the planning process.

Mr Burnham revealed the offer at a Mayor's Question Time event held in Bolton.

He said: “I think there’s really interesting plans emerging here for Bolton town centre and in some ways you’re not far behind some other towns. I’d say the town that is most at the forefront of this is Stockport. And in Stockport I have offered a Mayoral Development Corporation – well, we’ve set one up. And this gives you fast track powers over planning and helps speed up development.

“I’ve offered to the leader of the council. I’m more than happy to set up a Bolton Mayoral Development Corporation to build more homes in the town centre.”

Council leader David Greenhalgh welcomed the mayor's offer. He said: “Bolton has great ambition and I am really proud of our vision to reimagine our town centre and create additional housing, offices and leisure. We welcome the offer from Mayor and would look to progress this if needed, to help fast track our plans.”