The Farnworth Town Centre Masterplan is progressing in spite of soaring costs –but cuts have had to be made to plans.

The multi-million masterplan was approved a number of years ago alongside proposals for the towns of Horwich, Westhoughton and Little Lever.

In Farnworth, the focus is on the redevelopment of the leisure centre, the regeneration of the market precinct and a 'Streets for All' scheme on Market Street intended to make the area more accessible and more attractive to residents and visitors.

According to a report for consideration by cabinet member for regeneration Adele Warren this week, two parts of the masterplan are progressing.

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The redevelopment of the leisure centre by Seddon Construction started last year and is set to be completed within two months.

The regeneration of the market precinct by Capital and Centric started last year and is set to be completed by September 2024.

The Bolton News:

However one aspect, the 'Streets for All' scheme on Market Street, is in need of cutbacks.

Initially, it was allocated around £2.8 million, but its cost increased to around £5.4 million.

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The report to Cllr Warren reads: "The primary reasons for increased budgetary requirements at this stage can be attributed to a number of factors but, most notably, the increase in overall material costs and inflation."

In response, several changes were made to the scheme and its cost decreased to around £3.6 million.

The Bolton News:

These changes included the removal of a signalled crossing, the replacement of lit bollards with standard bollards, the replacement of certain materials with alternative materials and a reduction in the number of trees.

This left a shortfall of £758,618, £258,618 to be covered by Bolton Council from its District Centres Fund and the rest to be covered by Transport for Greater Manchester.

On Monday, Cllr Warren is recommended to approve £400,000 towards the scheme to cover the £258,618 and 'further contingencies'.

The report to Cllr Warren reads: "Any underspend on the project will be returned to the District Centres Fund in due course but it felt prudent to request a little more than the £260,000 to build in further contingencies."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.