A major proposed hotel in the heart of Bolton could mean handing over part of the town hall to a “profiteering company”, campaigners claim.

The long-debated project to create a hotel on Le Mans Crescent became a possibility again after the borough was awarded up to £20million “levelling up” funding last autumn.

This came after the last funding bid had failed, but Unison branch secretary Andrea Egan has warned that she was told that those previous plans had involved' handing over' the Albert Halls to developers.

She said: “They briefed us at the council at the time and they said that they had applied for levelling up funding.

“They said that they desperately needed a hotel for the town, which we didn’t have any objections to.”

The Bolton News: The levelling up bid was granted last autumnThe levelling up bid was granted last autumn (Image: Bolton Council)


She added: “But the plans included the Albert Halls being given away to the development company for their use.

“I asked what we were supposed to do about public events that were hosted there, and I was told the plan was that the council could hire it back off them.”

The completed bid had aimed to build a hotel on Le Mans Crescent, add a conference facilities to Albert Halls to complement the hotel - which was said would bring more visitors to the town centre, and improving public access to the listed building.

This project appeared to have stalled after the £20 million bid was turned down by the government, only to be unexpectedly revived last November.

This came when the government announced it had chosen Bolton for its third round of levelling up funding, taking the previous bid as its model.

Bolton was one of several councils all around the country that was successfully chosen.

The council confirmed later that same week that this could “provisionally” include projects like the Le Mans Crescent hotel, though the increasing costs of material might mean changes to the plans.

But Ms Egan and her fellow trade unionist have said they are concerned this could still mean handing over the now currently publicly owned Albert Halls to developers.

She said: “The next we heard about it, we were invited back and told the council had been given the money.

“So I said, ‘well what’s the implication on the previous plan we’d spoken about with the Albert Halls, given we said we would campaign against it.”

But Ms Egan says she has yet to receive a clear answer.

ALSO READ: 'Provisional' £20m fund could 'transform' hotel and shopping centre schemes

ALSO READ: 'Fantastic' £20million 'levelling up' investment announced for Bolton

ALSO READ: Levelling up projects branded 'illusions' after 'damning' report

She said: “So I suppose we’re at the mercy of them, waiting to hear from them, but I’d have hoped we would have found out by now.”

She added: “But the unions will demand that the public building is kept public and not given to some profiteering company, it belongs to the town.”

In response Bolton Council has said that officials are still working through the details of the redevelopment project and that nothing has yet been agreed.

The council has previously said that specific projects, which include the hotel, are still subject to discussions.

They said that they are working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to finalise the details.