Call for entertainment site in town is shouted down
8:47am Monday 29th October 2012 in News
LONG-overdue plans to create a family-friendly entertainment site in Bolton town centre should be revived, a councillor claims.
But an attempt by former Bolton Conservative leader Cllr John Walsh to call a conference about the future of the town centre were dismissed by the ruling Labour group, however.
Cllr Walsh, who represents Astley Bridge, was also branded “a dinosaur” during the heated debate.
He had tabled a motion at a council meeting calling for a conference and inviting developers to address what he called the “long overdue” development at Central Street to turn it into an entertainment centre with cinemas, restaurants and cafes.
He said: “Many of us have a desire to see a vibrant town centre. There are those of us who remember the development of the Market Place and arrival of Debenhams and thought it would be the main thrust of development for the next part of the town centre.
“But over the years we’ve seen that dream eroded.”
He said: “In Churchgate another premises has closed and there are two empty office blocks.
“And what does the council do? Put a couple of flower tubs there.”
He said: “I was walking along Churchgate, and on the pavement one of the stones has a quote from Kenneth Wolstenholme which says: ‘they think it’s all over, it is now’.
“I don’t want to see that be the epitaph of Bolton town centre.”
Bolton Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “You’re off again, ‘let’s bash Bolton’.
“What have the Conservatives done for the businesses in the town centre?
“VAT went up to 20 per cent, business rates are up 13.5 per cent. “What has this government done?”
Cllr Morris said three restaurants had recently opened in Bolton and that BHS’s refurbishment was a sign of its commitment to the town.
He said: “Get behind The Bolton News — they’re backing Bolton not bashing it.”
Mr Walsh was then jeered from the Labour benches with a shout of “John Walsh is a dinosaur”.
He replied: “A dinosaur that wants to see Bolton town centre regenerated.”
The Conservative councillors voted in favour of the motion but Labour opposed it and the motion was defeated.