Prestwich is set to benefit from an initiative to regenerate town centres by Mayor Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
When the Town Centre Challenge was launched in December, all ten councils in Greater Manchester were asked to nominate a town to be part of the initiative, which will try to reverse a lack of investment in town centres by focusing more on housing than retail.
Prestwich was chosen by Bury Council at this initial stage recognising that further centres, such as Radcliffe, will be worked on in the future.
Speaking at the Prestwich Town Centre event at the Longfield Centre yesterday (Thursday 15 February), Mayor, Andy Burnham explained: “This new initiative is all about regenerating town centres across Greater Manchester which have felt left behind, and this Challenge represents a significant opportunity for councils to drive forward real and sustainable change.
“The time has come to breathe new life into our proud towns and try to reverse a lack of investment in these town centres by coming at things in a different way. It’s a new idea but I’m hopeful it can deliver real benefits. We’re going to start with one town per borough but if it works, I’m quite prepared to start working through some of the other towns in Bury to see if we can give them the same benefits.”
Prestwich marks the first meeting in the Town Centre Challenge and is being followed by similar events in other town centres across Greater Manchester. Alongside partners, the aim is to consider in more detail all of the issues and potential solutions facing Prestwich, as a basis for agreeing some bespoke actions and identifying what support is needed to carry these out, with a particular focus on the Longfield Centre and the opportunities that this can provide at the heart of the town.
Redevelopment of the Longfield Centre forms a key part of the council’s strategic plans for Prestwich aiming to create a vibrant high street and town centre, to bring growth and prosperity to Prestwich creating a strong destination for the surrounding area and the wider city region.
Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “Bury needs to have thriving town centres and I believe we are demonstrating our commitment to this happening by putting Prestwich forward for the Town Centre Challenge. We already have a strong record of delivery evidenced by the success of Bury Town Centre.
“The regeneration of Prestwich is high on the council’s regeneration and growth agenda.The council have been working hard with our partners to realise the vision for Prestwich as set out in our “Love Prestwich Town Centre Development Strategy.”
Cllr Shori concluded: “With the Mayor’s support we’ll be lobbying for further funding and looking for imaginative solutions that we can pilot in Prestwich and then use in other parts of the borough, looking at Radcliffe next.”