PLANS to remove a town centre car park and replace it with a multi-million pound housing development have been slammed by shoppers.

Developers applied for planning permission in 2020 to build more than 50 homes on the site of the former car park off St George’s Row and Bark Street, opposite the old St Helena Mill site.

It forms part of the £1bn Bolton Town Centre Regeneration Plan to develop brownfield sites.

Bolton: St George's Row plan to transform car park into housing

Some people shared concerns that this would result in Bolton becoming a ‘ghost town’ for shopping, including the high price of parking.

Gene Watts said: “Are they trying to kill Bolton off?

“Already lost Bark Street multi-story carpark, and behind Blue Boar for parking no wonder Bolton’s like a ghost town for shopping.

Aftab Malek said: “And the fact it costs an arm and a leg to park, coupled with traffic wardens ready to pounce."

Alpesh  Patel echoed this, and said: “Houses?

“They should build more shops.

 “Otherwise soon the town will be a dumping ground if they carry on.”

Others said that other shopping centres were impacting on Bolton, such as the Middlebrook Leisure and Retail Park.

BOLTON MASTERPLAN: Central Street demolition paves the way for town centre living

The car park has been closed for sometime and council bosses have previously said high streets, including those in Bolton, need to change as people's shopping habits change to stay vibrant.

A council spokesperson said: “Removing surface car parking and replacing this with multi-storey car parking is a strategy Bolton Council have been pursuing for many years, in partnership with NCP, and was included in Bolton’s 2017 Town Centre Regeneration Plan.

“Bolton has three Multi-storey car parks at Deane Road, The Octagon, and Topp Way.

“These car parks as well as Bolton Market, Blackhorse Street, Market Place, and Crompton Place, are not affected by development plans.

“There is also a wealth of on-street parking, meaning there is more than enough parking spaces to accommodate the town centre’s future requirements – especially when there is a need to encourage greater use of public transport.”

One of the incentives behind the new developments, is to deliver what the council has said is ‘much needed housing’, which will contribute to a busier town centre.

The council also said that key retail developments are ongoing to further boost the economy of the town centre.

They view the regeneration plan as a way to make Bolton a better place to live, work and visit.