Plans for Bolton's £300m Innovation Zone revealed
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Plans for Bolton's £300m Innovation Zone revealed

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Plans for a £30.6m health and sports complex in Bolton, near Manchester, have progressed with the unveiling of preliminary designs. The project is part for Bolton Council's £300m regeneration scheme for the town centre called Innovation Zone.

The proposed sports complex, which is subject to planning permission, includes an eight-lane, 25m competition swimming pool with seating for 250 spectators, a 12-station fitness suite, aerobics studio and hydrotherapy pool.

The 13,000sq m (139,930sq ft) complex will be built on the now demolished Students' Union building on the Deane Road campus of the University of Bolton.

Plans also include a four-storey walk-in healthcare centre, with GP out-of-hours services, two university sports science laboratories and new teaching facilities. The sports hall at the current Deane campus is set to be replaced with a new sports facility with four indoor courts, a climbing wall and running lane.

If successful, the sports facility will be operated by the council's private sector partner Serco, while the health centre will be managed by the Bolton Primary Care Trust.

The project's cost will be shared between Bolton Council (£11.1m), the Primary Care Trust (£12m) and the university has set aside £7.5m. A planning application for the complex is expected to be submitted later this year.

Council leader Cliff Morris, said: "By combining our efforts, we want to encourage both participation in sports and to close the gap that exists between healthier communities and those whose health is affected by poverty and other social factors.

"This is one of the first significant landmarks within the Bolton Innovation Zone, which will create more than 4,000 jobs and attract £300m of new private sector investment to the town over the next 10 years."

So far the development brief for the Innovation Zone includes 30 hectares of commercial development space, which is likely to include leisure facilities, hotels, residential and office units. The project is to complement the expansion of the University of Bolton and will be integrated into the town's Cultural Quarter, which will include enhancements to Bolton Museum and Art Gallery and the central library.

There will also be a proposed bars, restaurants, clubs and retail units, a new performance space, green spaces and public squares.

Dr George Holmes, vice chancellor of the university, said: "This joint partnership is one of several important collaborations which place the university at the heart of Bolton's town centre development.

"This new sports, health and academic complex links study and professional development in sport and leisure with facilities for the Bolton community."

John Byrne, the council's executive member for development, said: "The Bolton Innovation Zone is a fantastic development and investment opportunity, which will provide contemporary community facilities, a major education hub and a collection of modern cultural facilities which will enhance Bolton's cultural offerings for both residents and tourists.

The Innovation Zone will transform the face of Bolton while retaining its architectural heritage and protecting the distinctive qualities of the different areas of the town centre."

The preferred developers for the project will be selected and announced late 2008.

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Plans for a £30.6m health and sports complex in Bolton, near Manchester, have progressed with the unveiling of preliminary designs.
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