A long-abandoned restaurant and bar has been left “forlorn and desolate” despite the ongoing efforts to regenerate the town centre.

Buffet King, on Bradshawgate, has been vacant for many years and was put up for auction in 2016.

But the space is still empty, and Cllr Linda Thomas argued it was proving damaging to the recent of the area on a recent visit to the nearby University of Bolton Business Faculty.

She said: “What a contrast to 100 yards away the former Buffet King Restaurant standing forlorn and desolate left to decline by an absentee owner who has no interest in restoring the building and completely unconcerned about the detrimental effect their property is having on the area.”

Vacant buildings have long been an issue around Bolton, which various regeneration schemes have been intended to solve.

As of March last year, a report by Power to Change found that one in three shops in the borough were vacant, a 57 per cent increase on vacancies since 2011.

As well as business, the borough has also had to cope with vacant homes, despite a pressing need to get people housed.

According to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics, 7,310 of 126,095 total dwellings in Bolton were unoccupied as of census day in March 2021.

Cllr Thomas, who represents the Queens Park and Central area which includes much of Bolton town centre, said that the business facility was a “fantastic” addition to the town’s skyline but vacant buildings like the Buffet King were dragging the rest of the area down.

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She said: “I think its really distressing when we’re trying so hard to regenerate the town centre, because its something everyone wants to get right and because its so important.

“But we’ve got people here who own buildings in the town centre who just seem not to care.

“It’s things like this that are really galling because there’s just no legislation in place to deal with it.”

Cllr Thomas said that she hoped Bolton Council would be able to impress on the government the needs that authorities like there’s have to deal with blights like these.

The building’s owner is currently unknown.