The area is currently made up of a mixture of existing and demolished warehouse/factory buildings, surface car parks and poor quality or derelict bars. The River Croal runs through the site and a long term policy commitment is to open up the river and utilise the riverside location. The proposed link road from River Street would also create access to the site from the south east of the town centre, and directly link with proposals at Trinity Quarter.
The Church Wharf development will deliver a new neighbourhood in the town centre. There is also a need for office space within Bolton, and proposals at Church Wharf could represent a continuation in the general growth of the town centre as an office location following major development in areas like Trinity Quarter.
Housing Supply – To minimise the risk of oversupply with other proposed residential developments, it is recommended that Phase Two provision be extended for as long a period as possible. In addition, ways to diversify the offer should be considered, for example with Church Wharf focusing on larger flats (3-bed or greater) or an element of specialist housing.
Hotel - There are a number of hotels proposed across the town centre. Further market appraisal is recommended to confirm that demand exists for this option as well.
Retail/Leisure – A localised convenience retail offer, which both supports the new residential community and seeks to capitalise on the strong surrounding transport routes could do well. One viable approach would be to prioritise high value local independent retailers, hot food operators and associated craft uses, building on what is proposed at the adjacent links to the north at Little Bolton Town Hall.