A NEW pocket park for Bolton is set to honour some of the borough’s legends of stage and screen.

Blueprints for the proposed Odeon Park - first revealed by The Bolton News last September - have evolved over the past five months.

Initially the plans for the old Ashburner Street cinema site were intended as a makeweight until something more substantial could be installed there.

But councillors insisted the location should become a ‘much-needed’ public open space within Bolton town centre, according to a report by Paul Whittingham, the borough’s assistant director of economic development and regeneration.

And the centrepiece of the designs is set to pay homage to theatre and silver screen actors, acknowledging the former Odeon cinema building, which stood there until 2007.

Borough luminaries like Sir Ian McKellen, Peter Kay, Maxine Peake, Hylda Baker, Shirley Anne Field, Bernard Kay, US film actor Wallace Ford and Ralf Little could be immortalised within the grounds.

Mr Whittingham said: “Members made clear their desire to see the former Odeon site become a permanent multi-functional public open space to provide some much-needed green space within Bolton town centre. Members also requested a ‘Wall of Fame’ to honour stars of stage and screen as a homage to the site’s former use.”

The park proposal is part of a wider regeneration bid, part of which is seeing improvements, currently underway, to Ashburner Street and Howell Croft South.

For the new designs for the pocket park, consultants say it will cost £800,000, leaving an overall bill of £1.5m, when the ongoing street works are factored in.

Councillors have been told that the original budget for the scheme, under Accelerated Funding award from the government, was £1m. An additional £500,000 is being sought from the £100m Town Centre Strategy Fund held by the council.

Council leader Cllr Martyn Cox will be asked to endorse this approach at a town hall meeting today.

Under the final designs, the Wall of Fame’ would be at the Ashburner Street end, with a wide central lawn surrounded by planting, rounded off with space for a stage and seating towards Back Spring Gardens.