The new leader of the council has set out his plans for further transparency and to let the public into decision making.

Speaking exclusively to The Bolton News in his first major interview since becoming leader, Cllr Nick Peel said that hoped to devise more ways of allowing the public to question the council and its cabinet members.

He said there were several ways this could work to allow members of the public to ask questions in “verbal or written” manners.

Cllr Peel said: “There are a lot of things we can do that don’t have to involve a price tag and that includes changing the way the council works as an organisation.”

He added: “I think all of this is about restoring trust in a council that has been seen in the past as being too secretive and when that happens people can often come to an incorrect conclusion.”

The Bolton News: The election took place earlier in MayThe election took place earlier in May (Image: Newsquest)

Labour’s Cllr Peel was confirmed as leader of the council at a meeting earlier in May after local elections that saw his party finish with 26 seats ahead of the outgoing Conservatives with 16.

He now says that he hopes to bring voluntary organisations and businesses further into the decision-making process and to bring more expert voices into the scrutiny process.

This way, Cllr Peel says he hopes to hear more “constructive criticism".

Cllr Peel said: “All that people know about the council over the last 13 years is that it has had to pass on deep cuts made by central government and there’s got to be a better story to tell.”

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He added: "If there’s any person, any business or organisation in Bolton who has a stake in the borough, that wants to improve it, we want them to sit round the table.”

The new leader also said he hoped to examine what “barriers” may have been in place to the town’s regeneration process and to make strides in cleaning up public spaces, notable by bringing back the borough’s free pest control service.

He said: “We need to sit down with investors and potential investors and understand why the private sector talks in very expectant terms about Bolton but they don’t always follow things through.”