COUNCIL bosses say they have “no doubt” that the Chinese investor behind much of the town centre’s regeneration plans will continue to invest despite diplomatic tensions over Hong Kong.

BCEGI, an international property developer established by a Chinese state-owned construction company, is one of the firms behind plans to rebuild Crompton Place shopping centre as part of a £1.5bn scheme.

The redevelopment of the site, worth £250m, was given the green light, in principle, last month with more details to be approved at a later stage.

Plans include a 110-bedroom hotel, 150 homes, 10,500 square metres of office space, and a retail, leisure, dining and events space, dubbed ‘Bolton Works’, designed for independent retailers, food operators and small business start-ups.

It also promises a mainly pedestrianised environment with a new walkway connecting Bradshawgate to Victoria Square.

But diplomatic relations between the UK and China have worsened, with the Chinese ambassador warning that Britain will “bear the consequences” if it continues to go “down the wrong road” on Hong Kong.

Labour leader Nick Peel, who conceded his question should perhaps be directed to the foreign secretary, asked whether the council had any concerns about diplomatic tensions at a scrutiny meeting.

He said: “One of our key partners for Bolton town centre regeneration is the Beijing construction company. Do we have any fears that the stagnating diplomatic relationship between ourselves and China over Hong Kong – in particular talks of trade wars etc and de-investment in the UK – do we have any fears that this could actually scupper our entire regeneration plans?”

The council’s director of place, Gerry Brough, responded at the virtual meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “It’s not such a difficult question really because BCEGI Ltd is a UK company registered in the UK and their funding is based in the UK so we’ve got no doubt that they will continue to meet the obligations that they have undertaken to meet as part of the town centre regeneration programme.

“Unless it gets to a real drastic situation I guess, where they could conceivably find themselves starved of cash but I don’t see that as a likelihood anytime soon because it’s a strong UK based company with hundreds of UK employees based here in the North West and I don’t see any reason why they would not be able to fulfil their commitments to the town centre regeneration plan.”