THE £1billion plan to transform the town centre has been given the green light — and has received the backing of opposition political parties.

The cabinet at Bolton Council officially approved the huge masterplan to redevelop the town centre by creating 1,800 new homes, 7,400 new jobs and generating economic activity worth an additional £412million over five key sites in the coming years.

The authority's leader Cllr Cliff Morris said he was 'really pleased' with the reaction he had received and the cabinet voted unanimously to move the masterplan forward yesterday.

He said: "Yes, our plan is ambitious, yes it is bold, and yes it is aspirational. We make no apologies for any of this.

"The regeneration of the town centre is already underway with developments like the £27million Market Place refurbishment and the £48million interchange.

"But more change is needed to make the town centre fit for the future and we are going to drive it forward as rapidly as we can."

The areas identified for improvement in the masterplan are Trinity Quarter, Cheadle Square, Crompton Place, Church Wharf and Croal Valley.

Bolton Council announced initial details of the plan in July 2017 and the authority has since approved borrowing £100 million to kick-start the project. The remainder of the plan will be funded by private sector investors.

The £100 million will be used for a range of priorities including site assembly, getting sites ready for development, public realm and infrastructure.

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of the Conservative group, said: "We want to say this is a hugely valuable piece of work.

"We are not going to oppose for opposing's sake, we absolutely buy into this."

"I think it is important we have a proper process where we monitor the success and as a result we have the flexibility to change.

"We absolutely welcome this. It is needed, I think we have seen in the past that other local authorities have had such plans that have achieved massive grants and seen great results."

Cllr Sean Hornby, leader of the UKIP, also supported the scheme and said: "It goes far and above the previous plan in 2006."

The clearance of land in the Trinity Gateway and Church Wharf areas could start as early as spring 2018.