The University of Bolton’s plan to change its name has taken a step forward, with the public being asked if it could be “misleading or confusing.”

Last September the Deane Road based university announced that it was exploring rebranding itself as “The University of Greater Manchester.”

This prompted a mixed reaction from the pubic and civic leaders but as of this week a formal consultation on the name change is underway.

Vice chancellor Professor George Holmes said: “I am pleased to announce that the Office for Students has confirmed that it is formally launching the consultation on the proposal of the University to become University of Greater Manchester.

“The new title will more accurately portray what the University has become in recent years, serving and operating in the whole area of Greater Manchester, not just one borough within it.

The Bolton News: Vice Chancellor Professor George HolmesVice Chancellor Professor George Holmes (Image: University of Bolton)

“Our commitment to Bolton is unswerving and we are committed to continue to be part of the fabric of the local community.

“The governors of the university unanimously resolved to change the university’s name in order that we can best serve our borough by continuing to grow and succeed with the due prominence that the new title will help to give.”

In September last year Professor Holmes, who has led university for nearly 20 years, said that the name change would help promote the university abroad.

Speaking to The Bolton News at the time he said that “Manchester” had far greater international recognition and would help attract the interest of more overseas students.

Professor Holmes said this could led to a future in which Greater Manchester was comparable to London with “10 or 12 universities".

The consultation launched by the university regulator, the Office for Students, poses the question ‘is the new title University of Greater Manchester misleading or confusing?’

Professor Holmes said: “The new name is not confusing there are already two other institutions in GM with the city of Manchester in their title.

“In London there are many more which use the capital’s name in their titles. 

“Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle city regions all have multiple universities with the city’s names in their titles without cause for confusion.”

The proposal to change the name provoked concerns across the political spectrum in Bolton.

Last November the Bolton Council unanimously approved a motion urging the university to “think again” and keep its current name.

Cllr Roger Hayes, who proposed the motion, said: “I would hope that the council, having passed the motion unanimously, will answer the consultation accordingly.

“We certainly would as group.”

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He added: “I’ve got no problem with them saying ‘University of Bolton, Greater Manchester’ if they want to emphasise the Greater Manchester aspect of it.

“But undoubtedly, Bolton should stay in the name.”

But academic and students at the university hope the rebrand can dovetail with developments like the proposed new medical school and new £20M Institute of Medical Sciences.

Bolton SU President Uchenna Moses said: “I wholeheartedly support this landmark change and strongly believe the new title and brand will elevate the University to a new level.”

The consultation can be found on the Office for Students’ website.