PLANS to redevelop Farnworth bus station should take a major step forward this week, with £1.7 million of funding expected to be released for the project.

Last year, Bolton Council approved proposals submitted by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) for a new bus station at the existing site in King Street.

It will include modern bus shelters, enhanced passenger safety and security, cycle parking and improved on-site travel information and signage.

Work on the scheme could now start in the spring, subject to the region’s council bosses voting in favour of funding it this Friday.

At a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, members will be asked to grant approval for the funding of the project.

Farnworth councillor Noel Spencer believes the revamped station could act as a catalyst for further renovation work in the town.

He said: “This is great news. I had a meeting with transport officers this week and they were really positive about it and looking forward to a massive upgrade of the area.

“It will tie in with our regeneration work in the Brackley Street shopping area and I hope that it will also give an incentive to St Modwen to start work on the regeneration of the market area. We have a considerable amount of work to do, but the bus station will really contribute to the whole regeneration of the area. It is really good news for Farnworth.”

Work on a new shopping parade at the town’s market precinct was due to be completed in 2016, but developer St Modwen has yet to even start work on the site.

Bolton Council recently agreed to put Farnworth forward to be one of the first areas to benefit from Andy Burnham’s Town Centre Challenge, which is intended to re-energise town centres by supporting the building of new housing developments.

A TfGM spokesman said: “The new bus station for Farnworth will provide an enhanced gateway to the town centre.

“It is part of a £1.9m investment in improvements to Farnworth Town Centre. In addition to the bus station, the junction of King Street/Market Street will be upgraded, pedestrian crossings will be improved and footways will be resurfaced.

“It is intended that these improvements, which are being delivered by Bolton Council and TfGM, will make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the town centre.

“The new Farnworth Bus Station is part of the Salford Bolton Network Improvement (SBNI) programme, a scheme designed to make the transport network more efficient and support economic growth.”