The University of Bolton says it will “firmly retain” the town’s name in its official address ahead of a major rebrand.

Earlier this week the Deane Road university announced that it was applying to change its name to the University of Greater Manchester.

But though voices from across the political spectrum have supported the university’s expansion, many have called for a link to its hometown to be maintained in the name.

Council leader Cllr Nick Peel said: “The University of Bolton has expanded massively in recent times and is still fast growing with a great future in front of it.

“Bolton Council has a collaborative working relationship with our university, for the benefit of our borough and our people, and we wish it continued success.

The Bolton News: The University of Bolton's Senate HouseThe University of Bolton's Senate House (Image: University of Bolton)

“The decision on any change of name is for the university, and the council has no powers to veto this, however my preference would be that the name ‘Bolton’ is included within the title.”

The university has already announced that the name change is supported by its board of governors and students union.

It said that this would “more accurately reflect” the university’s reach across the city region with various colleges and other parts of the institution based in Manchester, Stockport and Salford.

But along with Labour’s Cllr Peel, opposition politicians have also emphasised the importance of Bolton to the university’s identity.

Conservative opposition leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: “I perfectly understand for marketing the university at international students the name Greater Manchester will have more resonance for them.

“But I think a lot of people in the town will be disappointed by the dropping of the name Bolton.

“Because the name Bolton promotes the town and is good for the wider interests of the town.”

But Bolton West Conservative MP Chris Green felt that people across the borough would still feel a connection with their hometown university.

He said: “It’s a sensible move by the university, no doubt residents and potential students will still think of it as the local university.

“But when it comes to putting us on the global state it really does help us raise of our profile so its good news for Bolton.”

Pre-empting concerns about losing Bolton from its identity, university Vice Chancellor Professor George E Holmes has previously said that the institution will still be very clear on where its base is.

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He said: “The university has discussed with the leader, deputy leader and deputy mayor of Bolton Council the impending application for the change and there was broad agreement that the proposed new title would benefit the town significantly, firmly retaining Bolton in our official address, if not our shorter title, to indicate where our base remains.

“The University’s regional impact, its civic role, is a central part of its contribution to Greater Manchester and we are proud to say that we have one of the most socially inclusive and diverse student populations of any university in the UK.”

He added: “It is our firm view that a ‘University of Greater Manchester’ can exist alongside the universities of Manchester and Salford without problematic impacts.

“In fact, another strong university brand in Greater Manchester can only help the economic development of the region."