A SPECIALIST team is working on details of the economic development zone which could create more than 2,000 jobs in Bolton.

And a leading councillor has pledged that it will take an "inclusive" approach as it seeks to make sure the initiative is backed by proper transport links to unemployment blackspots in the town.

The Bolton European Funding Partnership has secured £10.6 million in European funding to develop potential key business sites in Horwich, Westhoughton and Blackrod.

They include the former Horwich Loco Works, Wingates Industrial Estate, land at the former British Aerospace site at Lostock and the industrial zone at the successful Middlebrook development.

The aim is to create jobs, especially for residents of disadvantaged communities.

Grants are available to help land owners and developers provide new premises to attract new businesses to the area.

The council said today that DTZ Pieda Consulting will be leading the team drawing up the blueprint for the scheme.

The company has been asked to look for imaginative ways of developing transport systems to ensure that people have quick access to the new jobs, especially from the most deprived areas of the borough.

Cllr John Byrne, Bolton Council executive member for economic development, described the initiative as a major boost for the borough.

"It has the potential to create thousands of new jobs," he said.

"The EC funding is only the start of course, the pump-priming money which will kickstart this ambitious programme.

"We are looking at growth sector employers such as computer software, medical equipment and others."