Bolton has been awarded up to £20million “levelling up” funding for town centre regeneration projects.

This comes as the government reveals which projects have been selected for the third round of funding from its levelling up.

The fund selected bids for regeneration projects lodged by councils all over the country, with the first two rounds aiming to be delivered by March 2026.

Bolton North East MP Mark Logan said: “I’m ecstatic to announce this fantastic £20million news for the future of Bolton.

“Bolton is clearly a priority for this Conservative government, and we are committed to cementing our great town as an even more attractive destination to work, live and visit.”

The Bolton News: Mark Logan MP says it is ecstatic newsMark Logan MP says it is ecstatic news (Image: Office of Mark Logan MP)

The funding arrives after the borough was already awarded more than £50million worth of levelling up funding over the last few years, which Mr Logan says he believes will make the town “even more competitive for the 21st century.

He said: “Since 2019, we’ve completed the £12 million revamp of the Octagon Theatre, secured £23 million from the government’s Towns Fund, £20 million for a new Bolton College of Medical Sciences and now, a further £20 million Levelling-Up bid for town centre regeneration projects.

“I’d like to thank the previous Bolton Council administration for working together on this bid over a long period of time, and for the current council team, we have a lot of work to do now to realise the regeneration of our town.”

 The announcement has been made amid ongoing debate about levelling up and its effectiveness across Bolton.

According to the council, the Bolton Institute of Medical Sciences, funded by the Levelling Up programme, is set to be complete in 2024.

Towns Fund projects like the Ashburner Street refurbishment are already complete while Central Library refit, market renovation and Wellspring Innovation hub are all set to be done by next year as well.

Future High Street Fund projects like the expansion of Farnworth Leisure Centre are already complete, while the Farnworth Green development is set to be complete also in 2024.

Former council leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: "I was personally really disappointed when our previous bid was turned down.

"So now, although I'm no longer the leader I'm very excited by what this could mean for Bolton and for our town centre."

He added: "We put forward a detailed business proposal last time so that should still be effective for this round now."

Lewis Croden, chairman of Bolton South and Walkden Conservatives agreed that this could prove particularly significant for the town centre.

He said: “We welcome the news of a further £20m in funding for Bolton. 

"This money will enable the much-needed regeneration of Bolton town centre, and we look forward to working with partners to secure more funding going forward.” 

But several other bids for levelling up projects in the borough have failed and last week a report by the National Audit Office found that several projects across the country are behind schedule.

Critics have also argued that levelling up projects do not make up for years of budget cuts in communities like Bolton. 

The Bolton News: Kirith Entwistle says the announcement is too little, too lateKirith Entwistle says the announcement is too little, too late (Image: Kirith Entwistle)

Labour candidate for Bolton North East Kirith Entwistle said: "Bolton has lost £225 million pounds under this Conservative government in cuts and on failed bids, and today's announcement is too little, too late to make up for this.

"The government's so-called levelling-up schemes have already cost Bolton
Council more than £150,000 in failed bids.

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"£16million of levelling-up funding was lost because an email wasn't sent on time by the last Conservative Council administration, and we never got the £41 million of levelling-up funding we were promised, money that was so desperately
needed for town centre regeneration.

"Furthermore, we lost £2million in apprenticeship money because it was never spent.

"Today's announcement means we're receiving less than half of the money we put in for and we won't be seeing any results until at least 2026, that simply isn't good enough.

"This is just another broken promise from this Conservative government."