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AMBITIOUS TIMELINE: Accelerated regeneration of Prestwich town centre

AMBITIOUS TIMELINE: Accelerated regeneration of Prestwich town centre

Accelerated regeneration of Prestwich town centre could see Longfield Centre demolished in 2023, Image: LDRS

An ambitious timeline for the regeneration of Prestwich centre has been set after agreement was granted for Bury Council to enter into a joint venture with a property developer.

The council acquired the Longfield shopping centre in July and is now working towards delivery of the huge project, which is set to create housing, employment, retail and civic space into the heart of the town.

The council’s cabinet have approved proposals which will see the authority, in a 50/50 partnership with Muse Developments, bring forward detailed plans for the area of the Longfield centre.

In a document presented to the cabinet the council said the partnership with Muse would ‘accelerate progress and unlock planning submission to spring 2022 with commencement as soon as 2023’.

The acquisition of the Longfield shopping centre provided the council with 26 of the 27 units let until such a time vacant possession is sought.

Under the joint venture the council will keep rental income until development work starts at the centre, which at the moment has full occupancy.

Council leader Eamonn O’Brien told the meeting the council was committed in the first phase of the project to build a civic hub at the site.

The proposed Prestwich Community Hub building would contain a library, adult learning, civic facilities and other health-related services.

Coun O’Brien said he wanted to give confidence to Prestwich residents who in the past may have said ‘we’ve heard this before, is anything going to happen?’.

He said: “The 50/50 joint venture with Muse means we retain council influence over the development for a high quality designed place in the heart of Prestwich.

“We want it to be a place for the next generations, a place where people will want to live 10, 20, 30 or 40 years into the future.

“We will bring forward a masterplan around housing, employment and civic spaces.”

He said the council had already underwritten some feasibility and design costs so ‘we can get plans out to the public quickly to consult on them’.

The report said those costs were around £40,000.

The meeting heard that leases for the current tenants at the Longfield all end at the same time so the scenario of some businesses remaining open while others close down was unlikely.

A Prestwich regeneration office, open to the public, is also set for the town centre.

Coun O’Brien added: “We want to reassure current tenants that whatever is put in its place we give them all the support we can.

“This is moving forward, we will get on with it as quickly as we can.

“Prestwich is on the up and what is holding it back is the town centre not really meeting that ambition.”


Words: Chris Gee, Local Democracy Reporter

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