A FORMER betting shop in the town centre is set to be used as a public engagement space for the council's regeneration plans.

The former Coral building on the edge of Victoria Square will be used by the council to host public information sessions and exhibitions to inform the community of progress on the town centre masterplan, if plans are approved.

The £1.2bn regeneration scheme is already taking shape with plans for two intervention areas already approved.

Plans to bring the Victorian building, which was the town's first central library, back into use have been submitted by developer Beechlane Management Limited.

Deputy leader Martyn Cox said the move, which is "imminent" will help the local authority consult with the public on its plans.

He said: "These things are only successful if you bring the public with you. Regeneration without public support goes nowhere.

"If you get that right you, you by in large have the public with you. If you get it wrong, it's an uphill battle all the way."

The Conservative councillor told The Bolton News that he is glad to see the "fabulous" building come back into use.

The proposed development includes an ancillary cafe together with first floor offices for the council's town centre team.

The offices would provide hot-desks and meeting space for use by the development partners involved in the town centre regeneration plans.

Labour councillor Nick Peel said it is important to keep the public engaged.

The former executive cabinet member said that plans for a public engagement space under the previous administration were "well-developed".

He said: "We were looking before the election to get a street-facing space where there would be plans and models of all the developers involved."

Planning officers are due to decide the outcome of the application by next month.