Bolton Council has agreed a deal with social impact developer CAPITAL&CENTRIC – the stars of BBC2 documentary Manctopia – to redevelop the former market precinct in Farnworth town centre.
The plans will see the site transformed into a vibrant, mixed-use community based on the developer’s neighbourhood housing concept. It will include over 200 modern homes centred around a new public square for artisan markets, live events and more.
The plans also include a new flexible space for community uses and events, with a village hall feel, which could host vintage fairs, art galleries, and pop-up gin bars. It will also see a linear park and spaces for café-bars, delis, a mini-cinema, gym and co-working.
Located on King Street in the heart of the town centre, the site is a short walk from the train station with easy access into Bolton and Manchester, and on the doorstep of the refurbished bus-station, making it an ideal location for commuters.
Tim Heatley, co-founder of CAPITAL&CENTRIC said: “This is about rebooting and modernising the market town. By creating 200 new homes around the square, we’re bringing life, and spending power, back to the town centre, so it’ll have its own ecosystem. We’re looking to attract the region’s best artists, makers and indie operators to set up home here.
“If you jump on a train you can be in Manchester in less than 20 minutes, so we see this rivalling the city centre with the same quality homes but affordable to more people from young professionals to downsizers. All surrounded by an incredible public square, plenty of trees and loads of places to hang out.”
Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Martyn Cox, added: “It’s great to see such exciting development plans for Farnworth town centre. Capital & Centric have a fantastic track record of not just creating buildings but communities for people to live, work and socialise in, which is what is needed to transform Farnworth town centre and make it more vibrant, attractive for visitors and fit for the future.”
Chair of the Farnworth steering group, Cllr Paul Sanders, said: “This is real progress and what we’ve been waiting for. The delivery of the key development proposals in the masterplan is vital for Farnworth and the plans proposed by Capital & Centric are welcomed. Our ambition is to rejuvenate the town centre and bring in new community facilities for our residents. We are looking forward to sharing the plans with Farnworthians, Kearsleyites and our partners.”
Bolton Council has purchased the Market Precinct from St Modwen and entered into an agreement with CAPITAL&CENTRIC to progress the long-awaited redevelopment of this major site. CAPITAL&CENTRIC is planning to launch a public consultation on the plans, which are being designed by architects BDP, in the new year.
Farnworth reached the second phase of the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, a multi-million pound pot of cash set up to make high streets fit for the future. The council submitted a business case in June 2020 and is waiting to hear whether the £19m bid has been successful. The additional funds would help in the delivery of a number of key development projects identified in the Farnworth town centre masterplan. Farnworth is also one of Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham’s Town Centre challenge areas.