Last week, Bolton Council announced its plans to create a “digital city” in the heart of the town centre. However, despite claiming to have consulted several local businesses that lie within the planned construction zone, both Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino have denied that this is actually the case.
The council had hoped that the “super-connected digital city” would put Bolton at the heart of the digital economy. The proposal involves creating a 7.3-hectare area around Blackhorse Street in conjunction with a private developer. However, the land is currently occupied and leased by a Grosvenor Casino, a Mecca Bingo hall, and a Morrisons supermarket, two of whom allege that they have not been told about the council’s plans.
A spokesperson for both companies says that the venues are “very successful” and “employ many local people”, and that they “intend to be here for many years to come”.
As a result, the council’s plans for the new project are in doubt, and at a cabinet meeting late last week, it came to light that council representatives had only consulted the owners of the site and not the leaseholders.
However, the council’s deputy leader defended its actions by saying that it had followed “normal” and “proper” procedure. He added that the talks are still “at an early stage” and that it will take a long time before any firm decision are made.
According to Bolton Council’s website, the proposed “digital city” will form one of six areas that falls within its £1.5b regeneration scheme for the town. As well as the area around Blackhorse Street, plans are also in place to transform Central Street, Church Wharf, Le Mans Hotel, Trinity Gateway, and Victoria Square/Crompton Place.
The well known Mecca Bingo has enjoyed its prime town-centre location in Bolton since 2004 and has seating for 1,200 as well as 32 electronic bingo terminals, a café, and bar. The town lost its Breighmet Mecca Bingo club in 2015 after the building’s owners decided not to renew the lease.