A plan to create a brand new transport interchange in Bolton, Lancashire, has edged a step closer as the council has been granted the right to purchase the selected land for the development.

Government officials noted that planners will now be able to buy the area which they have earmarked for the major new transport hub that will be able to improve links between Bolton and the rest of the north-west. The town currently has both a separate bus and train station but when the new interchange is completed it will provide a major boost to the area as the council looks to continue a significant regeneration to Bolton's town centre.

Eric Pickles, communities secretary, granted a compulsory purchase order (CPO), meaning that the local authority and planners can now begin negotiations with both land owners and tenants to come to an agreement on the sale of the site and begin construction. Officials have stated that the development is being funded through the Greater Manchester Transport Fund in a bid to support the Bolton Town Centre Transport Strategy.

Councillor Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said: "This is excellent news and this decision marks another significant milestone in the delivery of this scheme. The interchange is a key part of our town centre development programme and supports our regeneration proposals for this area.

"Having the approval means that we can compulsorily purchase the land but we would only use the CPO as a last resort."

Bolton sits in the heart of Lancashire and currently provides key links to both Manchester and other parts of the county but officials believe that this move will help to boost transportation within the area and potentially increase tourism. It follows on from nearby Blackburn which is currently in the midst of redeveloping its own town centre with the creation of the 118,000 sq ft Cathedral Quarter in a bid to improve the appeal of the town.

Officials noted that if all approvals are granted the Bolton interchange could be operational by 2015.

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