Agora plans Market Hall extension at Bolton mall

Agora Shopping Centres, the 50/50 joint venture between Warner Estate and Bank of Scotland, which owns a portfolio of shopping centres across the northwest of England, has unveiled plans for the redevelopment of Bolton's Market Hall to form an extension to the Market Place shopping centre.

Agora has lodged a planning application to restore the Grade II-listed hall, which dates from 1855, creating 100,000 sq ft (9,290 sq m) of retail space for the existing Market Place scheme.

The new space will be spread over three levels, and includes a separate building on the adjacent Bridge Street patio area.

Two flagship units will be created within the Market Hall site to form anchor stores for the mall. Work is expected to begin in spring 2006.

The proposals have received backing from Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council. Council leader Barbara Ronson said: 'As the current landlord of the Market Hall we have a close working partnership with the Market Place. The Market Hall is a landmark building in Bolton and one we are proud of, so we are looking forward to seeing a sympathetic restoration of the building.'

The council sees the refurbishment and extension of the Market Place scheme as central to its strategy for the town centre.

'Other cities in the Northwest are undergoing considerable redevelopment,' said Ronson. 'It is essential that the town of Bolton has new retail opportunities to attract visitors to the town, while providing an attractive retail offering for the local community.'