I have read with interest the BN article (March 25) about extra grant resources becoming available for the bus station and Central Street sites - which has to be good news (although it also highlights the serious lack of viability of these sites without them!).

Readers may recall that it is now six years since Bolton & District Civic Trust produced detailed proposals for the bus station site in response to the ‘horrific’ scheme put forward by the university.

These proposals were subject to a public meeting and public consultation where they received widespread support. We also had discussions with the Leader of the Council, Chief Executive, Director of Place and university officials who promised to give them their full consideration - but we never heard anything back.

The BN article states that long-awaited plans have been unveiled, but there is no mention of a planning application, neither is there any mention of the design process that needs to be gone through to produce a top quality scheme for this critical location. B&DCT would be pleased if the council officers involved explained to the people of Bolton how this is going to be handled.

Has a formal brief been issued and what does it contain? Has a short list of architects/developers been drawn up and on what basis? And who is going to judge the entries?

Again, BN readers will be well aware of the ‘controversy’ surrounding the Crompton Place scheme where one practice was nominated at the start to develop the scheme without any formal ‘tender’ process that we are aware of, and the B&DCT (and general public) view that it constitutes over-development and insensitivity to the setting of the Town Hall and Cenotaph.

If anything the bus station/Cheadle Square scheme will have an even greater visual impact on the town centre than Crompton Place, so the very best environmental and ecological (not just income-generating) proposals must be produced (including green space and climate change resilience).

Our concern is that a single aspect scheme containing 198 housing units could take us back to ‘square one’ with a vista of monolithic mid-high rise blocks - I hope we are wrong!

Six years on, we still maintain that the B&DCT proposals represented a ‘benchmark’ against which any future scheme should be measured. We hope BN readers and Bolton Council officers and members will be reminded of this as we look forward to seeing what transpires.

Stuart Whittle

Bolton and District Civic Trust