A Bolton retail park, Trinity Retail Park, based off St Peter’s Way just outside the town centre, has been purchased by Bolton at Home, which aims to transform the site into a community-focused green technology and skills hub.
The site, which is currently home to Bolton charity Urban Outreach’s food storage and distribution facility, Jump Xtreme trampoline park as well as retail units, will become part of the social housing provider’s plans to invest in supporting local people to learn new skills and find work in the construction and energy industry.
Plans for the site include developing a training centre for staff to learn the latest skills in green technologies, which will become commonplace in retrofitting and housebuilding in the near future. Building a modular training house for staff to develop their trades in a real environment is being discussed and food growing on the site to help reduce the level of food poverty in the borough will be explored.
Funding for the acquisition has come from Bolton at Home’s reserves with external funding being sought for plans to transform the site. While the area will be run as a not-for-profit enterprise, any surplus funds generated from the commercial rents will be reinvested back into local community projects such as helping people back into employment.
Jon Lord, group chief executive at Bolton at Home said:
“This is a move with both eyes firmly focused on the future and supporting our local people and businesses in Bolton. We want to use this site to create a new centre of excellence for green technology and skills with our community partners. We also want to continue supporting the vital humanitarian response work from the site, which is led by Urban Outreach on behalf of the Bolton Family, to provide community food support. This will be a vital part of the post-pandemic response and economic recovery.
“The centre of excellence will allow our staff to learn new techniques in green technology that will be part of our tenants’ homes and local companies could hire space to upskill their own staff. It can also play an important role in helping those out of work to reskill so they can secure jobs in the energy and construction industries, which we expect to be a big part of the government’s levelling up agenda.
“The site will also offer opportunities for local businesses in what will be a fast-growing sector of the economy after the pandemic. In addition to supporting start-up companies, businesses will also be able to train up staff in terms of new skills.
“Bolton at Home tenants will benefit from this investment in different ways. It’ll create new training and employment opportunities for them and enable us to identify more ways to deliver sustainable improvements to tenants’ homes such as renewable and sustainable heating systems, reducing their running costs and our carbon emissions. Of course, while tenants will be our main priority, these technologies will ultimately benefit all houses and buildings across Bolton and the wider Greater Manchester region.”
Councillor Adele Warren, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for environmental services delivery, added:
“This is a fantastic initiative for our town and residents. Environmentally friendly technology will deliver sustainable development and employment opportunities, boosting our economy whilst helping Bolton achieve carbon net zero. This is an exciting project that will also improve existing homes and create new sustainable homes whilst upskilling the work force and creating job opportunities.”