BURY Council will spend more than half a million pounds to buy a restaurant as part of its Prestwich regeneration plans.

An offer by the local authority to purchase the Istanbul restaurant on Bury New Road for £525,000 has been accepted.

The Turkish restaurant could be knocked down to allow a central plaza to run between the high street and Metrolink stop.

But opposition councillors raised concerns about the purchase, saying that there is no clear plan in place.

Cllr Nick Jones told the cabinet that he is not comfortable with the acquisition.

The deputy Conservative leader told the Bury Times that he has "grave concerns".

He said: “The scheme has some serious risks – there is no certainty that the ‘masterplan’ for Prestwich will even get off the ground. They do not seem to have a clear plan in place for the Prestwich Village area.

“Before the council spends excessive amounts of tax payers money they should outline what their plans are – I am not convinced they have a plan.”

The council leadership defended the plans saying that the council would make money through rental income before regeneration plans progress.

However, both opposition councillors who were at the cabinet meeting where the plans were rubber-stamped last week made reference to an Italian restaurant the council acquired in Lytham St Anne’s which has been empty an not generating an income for months.

Newly-elected Lib Dem councillor Cristina Tegolo agreed that the plans need to be developed further.

She said: “We haven’t got a scheme yet and we haven’t got funding yet.”

Labour councillors said that without the purchase, the council could be “held to ransom” by someone else interested in the property.

Cllr Alan Quinn defended the council’s record in Prestwich reminding colleagues of a £2m investment into the high street.

He said: “From my point of view, it shows intent. If we do this, then the developers will see we mean business. If we don’t do this, it’s another false start.”