Long debated plans to bring trams to Bolton are “on the table” after this year’s elections.

Earlier this year The Bolton News reported that schemes to bring Metrolink services to the borough had been branded “poor value for money.”

But as part of his re-election bid, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has pledged to “build a business case” to bring trams to the town.

Bolton Council leader Cllr Nick Peel said: “It’s always on the table but to be connected it takes thought about the feasibility of different routes.

“People talk about the old railway link from Bolton to Bury but there’s already a lot of building that’s taken place there already so that could prove to be very expensive.”

The Bolton News: Bringing trams to Bolton has been a long debated topicBringing trams to Bolton has been a long debated topic (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “So the other option is bringing in lines from the west of Bolton and that is feasible.

“There are also a lot of lines from the town centre down to the hospital.

“Cleary there is a desire for it, it's just about geography.

“It’s more about geography than it is about money.”

Extending tram lines to Bolton has been debated over several years, going back to the 2019 election and beyond.

At that year’s election the then transport secretary Grant Shapps MP said that his government would, if re-elected, spend millions on extending the Metrolink to Bolton and Stockport.

In October last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that part of the billions of pounds worth of funding from the cancelled HS2 rail link could be spent on the Bolton Metrolink project.

But within days the government admitted that this and other projects like it had simply been “illustrative” of what the money could be used for.

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But having been re-elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester for a third term last week, Mr Burnham is now expected to put a “business case” before the government.

His manifesto said: “We will bring forward plans for Metrolink expansion and will prioritise Middleton, Heywood and Stockport and build a business case for Bolton working with Government, for better connectivity arising from new extensions.

“We will also bring forward a new stop at Sandhills in North Manchester to unlock 5000 new homes.”

It will remain up to the government whether to decide to fund the extension once the business case has been put forward.