Bolton’s status as Greater Manchester's  “Town of Culture” could leave a lasting impact, Andy Burnham has said.

On a visit to the town centre’s newly refurbished library, the Greater Manchester Mayor said that he believed the town of culture title could leave a significant legacy for the borough.

Towards the end of last month, Bolton Council announced the borough would be handed £50,000 to support a year’s worth of events as part of the programme.

Mr Burnham said: “This will be the fourth town of culture, we’ve had Bury, Stalybridge, Stockport and now Bolton.

“We’ve built on it every time, obviously with Bury there were some issues there with the pandemic but in Stalybridge there was a real increase in footfall.

“Stockport have really taken it to another level because of the regeneration of the town and I think that’s what Bolton can do again and bring that real vibrancy to the town centre.”

The Town of Culture grant, from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority culture fund, will help to develop events that celebrate Bolton’s heritage.

The Bolton News: The library has reopened again after multimillion pound worksThe library has reopened again after multimillion pound works (Image: Newsquest)

Many of these will be centred around the Octagon Theatre and the town’s newly refurbished central library and museum.

The renowned Le Mans Crescent library reopened in January this year after £4M works over the previous year and a half, made possible by financing from the government’s Towns Fund.

The Bolton News: Bolton Central Library reopened again earlier this yearBolton Central Library reopened again earlier this year (Image: Newsquest)

The works have included adding a new café, mezzanine floor, a three part children’s section and digital sections.

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On his first visit since the works were carried out, Mr Burnham said that the Town of Culture programme and projects like the library refurbishment were key to the borough’s regeneration.

He said: “Greater Manchester is learning all the time and I think there was a time back in the eighties when because we’d lost so much, we were just grabbing whatever regeneration we could.

“But what we’ve learned is that when you’ve got high quality cultural spaces then that is when regeneration really takes off.

“I think we’ve learned that now and it's become quite rare for a developer to come forward with a plan without green space and without cultural space.”