FARNWORTH has been put forward for a new scheme to regenerate ailing town centres across Greater Manchester.

Bolton Council has nominated Farnworth to benefit from a new Town Centre Challenge involving local authorities across the region.

The project is designed to ‘make the best of existing initiatives and resources to help unlock solutions to long term problems’.

It would involve Mayor Andy Burnham bringing together a wide range of organisations to re-imagine and deliver on regeneration plans.

Until now Farnworth residents have been left frustrated by a lack of progress on plans to transform the centre.

Work on a new shopping parade at the town’s market precinct was due to be completed last year, but is yet to begin.

Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said: “The potential development opportunities in Farnworth have been a firm ambition of ours and for residents for some time.

“We have bid for Farnworth to be included in this project because we know that the challenges faced by our high streets are not unique to our neck of the woods.

“In some cases it’s due to significant cuts we have faced.

“These are some of the areas where there will be real value in taking a look at regenerating and reviving our townships and taking advantage of the breadth of opportunity across Greater Manchester.”

The Town Centre Challenge proposals, which were supported at a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) last week, would focus on creating ‘viable housing markets with digital and physical connectivity to attract families and older people’.

A report sent to the GMCA last week stated that the decline of town centre retail means that many areas need ‘to find a new purpose and play a significantly different role than in the


It also says councils have been too dependent on developers and unable to take a proactive approach to regeneration.

Bolton Council recently announced a £1 billion plan to transform Bolton town centre, which the town hall will contribute £100 million towards.

Paul Heslop, of Farnworth and Kearsley First, said: “Any investment in Farnworth to get it out of its dire condition would be welcome.

“Personally, I think the council should be putting its hand into its own pocket.

“If it can find £100 million for Bolton town centre, then I think it should be able to find a pro-rata amount for Farnworth.

“What has happened to Farnworth is unfair, money has been spent disproportionately.”

nHave your say: Email letters@theboltonnews.co.uk