BOLTON has missed out on a government fund for “shovel ready” schemes as two projects in Manchester get half of the £54m pot for the region.

The local authority submitted an unsuccessful bid for a new 20-storey tower and multi-storey car park at Trinity Gateway to benefit from the funding.

It also put forward a proposal for an infrastructure project in Westhoughton.

But The Bolton News understands that these schemes came 11th and 20th respectively on Greater Manchester’s top 20 priority projects – and the government only funded the first seven on the list.

Bolton Council bosses said the criteria for the cash fund created in the wake of the coronavirus crisis featured some “very severe restrictions” including a requirement for construction to be completed within 18 months.

But director of place Gerry Brough told councillors at a scrutiny committee last week that the council still submitted a “considerable number” of projects.

He said: “We’ve expended a lot of effort in trying to secure these funds. We’ve not given up entirely. We still think there might be some funds that cascade down from projects that are possibly not able to meet some of the criteria.

“But at the moment, as things stand, we’re not anticipating that we’re going to see any of this money – which is interesting, but likely to be the case as long as everything continues to be channelled through Greater Manchester.”

Labour MP for Bolton South East, Yasmin Qureshi, expressed her disappointment at the news that Bolton missed out to Manchester.

She said: “We hear constantly about ‘levelling up’ from the Government but this cannot happen if Bolton is not given it’s fair share of funds.

“While I don’t begrudge any extra community funding, I have ongoing concerns about how money seems to flow into central Manchester, while towns like ours are left out.’’

But her Conservative counterpart in Bolton West, Chris Green defended the efforts of the Tory-led council in securing government funding.

He said: “The government is doing all it can to help us bounce back from the COVID lockdown and to create more jobs.

“I know Cllr David Greenhalgh and his team have been working hard to secure more local investment and will continue to fight for local residents.”

The borough is still in with a chance of securing government funding from the Future High Streets Fund with bids of £24.6m for Bolton town centre and £19.275m for Farnworth now submitted.

Assistant director Paul Whittingham revealed that the Farnworth bid focuses on creating a “new town centre” following the demolition of the shopping precinct which is underway.

Bolton’s bid focuses on plans for Church Wharf, a new residential area in the heart of the town centre with 352 new homes, as well as a “key development” on the former Ikon and Palais de Danse site.

A bid of up to £25m for the Towns Fund, which Bolton was shortlisted for ahead of the general election last year, is due to be completed in October.

A local Town Deal Board, made up of representatives from key public and private sector organisations, was formed in January to steer Bolton’s vision and objectives for the funding.

The priorities for investment will concentrate on Cheadle Square, the area between Bolton Town Hall and Moor Lane.

The board is now asking local people to have their say to ensure that the vision is shaped and supported by the people who live and work in the borough.

A public consultation has started and will end on 19 August at midnight. Fill in a short online questionnaire online at:

Residents can also pick up a paper survey at a local library: Breightmet, Central, Farnworth, Harwood, Horwich and Westhoughton.