Bolton’s new bus station is one step closer to completion, after councillors agreed planning permission yesterday.
The development, costing £48million, will be built adjacent to Bolton railway station, improving transport links in the area.
Designs are eco-friendly, with solar panels, rainwater recycling and low energy LED lighting. The bus station will have the added environmental bonus of providing shoppers with a greener alternative than their car.
Enthusiasm for the project is high. Labour Party councillor Nick Peel said: “It cannot be underestimated the effect this will have on the regeneration of this side of the town centre.”
The development will include a secure bike storage facility in an attempt to promote cycling in the town centre.
Plans include a covered walkway between the rail and bus stations to keep off any unsavoury weather. The walkway will be large enough for a significant amount of use at any one time, something that councillor Andrew Fender anticipates. “It is going to deliver a fantastic gateway for people living and working in Bolton and for people visiting the town,” he said.
The build is set to be an improvement on the old bus station, with better waiting areas and facilities. It has been a marked success in terms of public and councillor communication, with resident groups being informed and consulted every step of the way.
Local residents are also pleased by the project. Tasos Pattichis, owner of the popular Olympus Fish and Chips shop, located opposite the proposed site said: “It’s a fantastic idea, absolutely brilliant. It’ll be so convenient, it has to go ahead.”
Mr. Pattichis made the astute observation that, for Bolton to regenerate in the face of the recession, the interchange has to be the beginning of wider improvement in the town centre.
“It’s a bit depressed around here; there are a lot of pound and charity shops. The councillors need to follow through to make sure this scheme brings a significant improvement,” he said.
Luckily for Mr Pattichis and the other residents of Bolton, the development will work in conjunction with a £4.5million refurbishment of the old bus station on Moor Lane. The money will be used to create leisure, retail and office opportunities.
The site for the new development is well chosen; located near to the picturesque Queens Park and Bradford Park, the interchange is in full view of the Church of the Holy Trinity; a location sure to show off the best of Bolton.
The project is due to be completed in 2015.