THE first pictures have been released of the planned transformation of the historic vaulted basement in the Market Place shopping centre.

Owners of the complex Moorgarth have applied to transform the Victorian vaults on the bottom floor of the centre into restaurants, bars and shops.

The company has already received permission to build a new nine-screen cinema within the current car park, and operators The Light Cinema was confirmed last month.

Chief executive of Moorgarth, Tim Vaughan, said this next planning application showed their commitment to Bolton town centre.

He said: “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Bolton community and help breathe life back into these historic vaults and enable the population of Bolton and outside to appreciate the delights of Bolton’s iconic heritage into the future.

“The addition of family friendly restaurants, licensed bars and, of course, our recently approved nine-screen independently operated cinema in this beautiful building is a fresh and exciting way to create an event-based destination.

“It will operate during the day and night offering people of all ages a place to enjoy some quality time with friends and family in a wonderful environment.”

The proposed works include creating direct escalator access into the vaults from the ground floor main entrance from Corporation Street, new scenic glass lifts to all floors and the addition of a range of restaurants at first floor level, in addition to those in the vaults.

A council spokesman said: “We were aware that this phase two application was going to be submitted and we are aware of the excitement that this scheme is generating within Bolton.

“It will now go through the planning process and a decision will be made in due course.”