Plans to massively expand an industrial estate will prioritise “local employment and contracts”, town hall leaders say.

The scheme by the Harworth Group to expand the Wingates Industrial Estate, not far from Logistic North in Westhoughton, was approved more than three years ago.

Changes to the access road were approved in December last year and now Bolton Council deputy leader Cllr Akhtar Zaman says he expects Bolton-based workers and firms to benefit.

He said: “In addition to the strategy that will cover the companies that will occupy the business units, my regeneration officers are working with Harworth on securing local employment and contracts for the construction phase.

“There is ongoing engagement with Harworth about the delivery of the scheme and seeing as many job opportunities as possible and apprenticeships.”

The site is set to be massively expandedThe site is set to be massively expanded (Image: The Harworth Group)

He added: “My team are also working with Stateside Foods on their ongoing recruitment drive.”

The Harworth Group was given permission to develop around 1.1million square feet at the site for manufacturing and logistics back in January 2020.

At the time, the company argued that this could help to create around 1,500 new jobs.

Last December Harworth were given approval to change their plans for the access to the expanded estate.

This involved removing approved access points from Wimberry Hill Road in favour of a single access point off the A6 off Chorley Road.

More than six months on, questions were raised at Bolton Town Hall about how the scheme would benefit people across the borough

Cllr Zaman had been responding to a question put by Cllr Arthur Price, of Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill.

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Cllr Price had asked what measures had been put in place with Harworth to ensure that work opportunities and training were being developed.

He said this was especially important to ensure that people from Bolton especially younger or and disadvantaged groups were given the maximum opportunity for employment.

Cllr Zaman, who also sits as cabinet member for regeneration, told a town hall meeting last week that the original application had included an employment and skills strategy.

He also said that he expected the scheme to help “raise the wage floor”, support more people into employment and bring more investment into the borough.