TRADERS in Farnworth have mixed views about the new £14m Market Precinct proposal which will create 94 new homes and commercial space in the town centre.

Speaking to The Bolton News, businesses owners who will have their shops demolished in the new plans spoke about their position.

Nigel Cain, owner of Nigel’s Pet Supplies, will be relocating his store and he believes he will continue to see his loyal customers after the market transformation.

He said: “All of the stores on this strip are earmarked for demolition to make way for the development.

“So from what would be the chip shop at the top, to the last property which is council owned and currently being used as a pop-up library, will be demolished to make way for this proposal so it definitely impacts us because we will have no shop left, we are having to close.

“Technically speaking the business will be relocating, I’ve found alternative accommodation to trade from but these plans have been rumbling for about 10 years, maybe even longer.

“The momentum has come really from when St Modwen the previous owner sold his site this time last year and the council bought the site to redevelop the area.

“It is proposed the demolition will take place from the summer because I believe they have got till April 2024 to have the build complete.

“For me personally, I don’t think I will lose a customer base because I’m picking up my business and moving it to the other side of the street, so that won’t impact us.”

David Dewhurst, the manager of Freezer Factory, will also be relocating once notices have been served.

However, this isn’t the same for other stores and cafe owners on Brackley Street, which will have to close indefinitely.

Market Fish Bar, at the top end of Brackley Street, near to Asda, will have to close due to the demolition works.

Sean O’Neill, the owner of the fish and chip shop, said they have had ‘whisperings’ of developments since he took over the fish bar 16 years ago but now sadly he will have to close.

He said: “I’ve never been resistent to any developments happening here and we’ve always embraced change but when you get a phone call out of the blue to be told that you will be out by Christmas, that’s the first we sort of knew about it and that was from a company in Leeds, which represents the council.

“We’ve had no contact from the council at all and we’ve not had one visit from anybody that is involved in this project, so it all leaves a very bitter taste really.

“I’ve been here for 16 years and paid a lot of money for this business and we were made a lot of promises from previous owners but then the site was sold back to the council and now the proposal is underway.

“The original plan was that they would start the new development, we would get a place within that and then they would demolish these but apparently those plans changed, so now I’ve got to make staff redundant and it’s just going to be turned into dust.”

Paul Sanders, Farnworth and Kearsley First councillor, said the community will benefit from the development.

He said: “After decades of undelivered masterplans, broken promises and deteriorating building quality, the long-awaited regeneration of Farnworth town centre is now actually upon us.

“It’s really encouraging to see a number of retailers relocating to the opposite side of Brackley Street.

“That side of the street will be fully occupied by early 2022 and will keep footfall flowing as major works begin opposite.

“The very limited empty retail space in Farnworth, a good problem to have in normal times, has sadly meant that not all vacating businesses have found an immediate new home.

“The Government-set delivery deadline of 2024 has also meant that demolition needs to happen first and building to follow immediately.

“It is hoped that once the new units are built that we may see the return of some brands.

“The people of Farnworth and Kearsley and wider will benefit greatly from this investment into Farnworth town centre. Confidence breeds confidence.”

Works should begin in 2022, creating a large public space surrounded by retail and hospitality units, apartments and a row of family homes.