WORK has begun on the first phase of a project set to change the fabric of the town centre.

Demolition workers this week boarded up a section of disused buildings on Bank Street which could eventually become the entrance to Church Wharf, Muse Developments' £150m regeneration scheme.

The development was unanimously agreed by planners last week and represents the first of a number of schemes which Bolton Council hopes will regenerate the centre of the borough.

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Proposals for Church Wharf include a large “weathering steel” footbridge which would join Bank Street to Water Street close to the River Croal.

However, this means demolishing the former Late Club and Club Ice buildings, owned by the council, which have repeatedly been damaged by fires and are said to be structurally unsafe.

Staff from J Freeley Ltd have begun the first stages of the demolition project, with surveys taking place to ensure the walls above the River Croal are secure and supported.

Once this work is completed the buildings are set to be brought down over a period of around 16 weeks.

During this time a one-way system will be in place and traffic will not be able to travel northbound from Bradshawgate to Folds Road via Bank Street.

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A signposted diversion will direct traffic around Deansgate, Bridge Street and Bow Street.

Following demolition of the building a retaining wall will be constructed alongside the River Croal. The proposals for this new wall are still in development, but traffic is not expected to be affected.