A transformational transport interchange in Bolton is being given the go ahead after the government approved plans to secure the required land.
Local government granted a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to allow the council to negotiate with landowners and tenants in order to progress with the £48million development in partnership with the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
A brand new bus station will be erected adjacent to Bolton’s railway station to provide improved links, waiting areas, facilities and passenger pleasure.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “This is excellent news and this decision marks another significant milestone in the delivery of this scheme.
“The interchange is a key part of our town centre development programme and supports our regeneration proposals for this area.
“We have already made significant progress to acquire the necessary land without having to go down the CPO route. Having the approval means that we can compulsorily purchase the land but we would only use the CPO as a last resort.
TfGM will continue to work with Bolton Council and bus operators to ensure Bolton Market and other areas of the town centre can be easily accessed by bus in the future.
Cllr Morris added: “We will still strive to complete negotiations without using it whilst continuing to support and assist the affected businesses where possible to relocate elsewhere within the town centre.”
A strategy will also be developed to signpost pedestrian routes to areas of the interchange and the town centre, including the market.
The project also includes landscaping and public realm improvements which will support the wider regeneration of Bolton town centre.
The scheme is being funded by £48million set aside through the Greater Manchester Transport Fund to support Bolton Town Centre Transport Strategy.
Chair of the TfGM Committee, Councillor Andrew Fender, added: “This important decision means that we can now press on with the delivery of the new interchange in the confidence that any land issues associated with the development can – and will – be resolved.
“This is a fantastic project that will deliver major improvements for passengers and will provide a modern, striking gateway to Bolton town centre. I am really pleased that we can now press ahead.”
Subject to securing the necessary approvals the new facility could be operational by 2015.
Plans for a high quality commercial development on the site are also being developed.