THE demolition of Crompton Place shopping centre is set to start in just six months as a £250m redevelopment of Bolton town centre is approved.

Planning permission has been granted to knock down the shopping centre in Victoria Square and work could start as soon as January or later in 2021.

Talks are underway to relocate retailers currently based in Crompton Place, including Boots and Primark, elsewhere in Bolton while work takes place.

READ MORE: Crompton Place redevelopment: 10 pictures that show dramatic transformation over the years

A major redevelopment of the site has also been given the green light, in principle, by the planning committee with more details to be approved later.

The plan include a 110-bedroom hotel, 150 homes, 10,500 square metres of office space, and a mixed-use retail, leisure, dining and events space, dubbed “Bolton Works”, designed to accommodate independent retailers and food operators and also includes incubator space for small business start-ups.

It also promises to provide a predominantly pedestrianised environment with a new walkway connecting Bradshawgate to Victoria Square for the first time.

Bolton Council’s deputy leader Martyn Cox described the decision as a “major milestone” for the site which is part of a £1.5bn town centre masterplan.

He said: “These plans will create a destination which combine town centre living, retail and leisure in a top quality environment.

“It means new homes, new jobs, and new businesses coming to Bolton.

“As the high street continues to face challenges particularly from the coronavirus pandemic, this is a really significant development.”

Cllr Cox said the council will “work hard” to keep retailers in the town centre.

Paul Whittingham, assistant director for development and regeneration at Bolton Council, told the planning committee that negotiations were underway.

Councillors welcomed the demolition of the “hideous” building and described the redevelopment plans as an “important piece of the jigsaw” for the town.

But speaking on behalf of Bolton and District Civic Trust, Richard Shirres urged the council to “press pause” on the plans and improve the scheme.

He said: “Essentially, in our studied judgement, this is not sustainable development. It needs to be.

“Greater Manchester committed to net zero carbon commercial development by 2028. So excellence should be self-evident at outline stage.

“Between public consultation and application the scheme tripled its office floor area. It is now 30 per cent of Bolton’s expressed need up to 2037.

“Yet, post-pandemic, market commentators now warn of a step change downwards in future office space need because of the realised potential of home working.”

Mr Shirres described the design as “making a statement” and “extravagant” and called for the building line to be pushed back to expand Victoria Square.

The planning committee voted unanimously to approve the application.