A NEW report has declared Bury a “great place to live” compared to other Northern towns.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership says that links between towns and big cities are vital to the success of small local businesses and economies.

Because several areas of Bury have strong transport links to Manchester city centre, the town is seen as being on a steady road to recovery from the pandemic.

But the report’s authors argued that much work has been done in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and to create more jobs on strategic sites and in key sectors.

The report, which also studied the areas of Blyth in Northumberland, and Goole and Humberside in Yorkshire.

It further highlights the need for greater bus reform due to a wider travel to work area which needs to be made more accessible.

It concludes: “The Levelling Up fund bids Bury secured were persuasive, with confirmed investment on the way for Radcliffe and the plans for Bury town centre, including the investment for the market there.

“The strength of these bids is evidence of what effective local authority leadership and capacity can mean when entering into competitive funding rounds for limited centrally-distributed funding pots.

“This leaves open why funding was not just passed directly to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, in the spirit of the devolution commitments made by government at the time.”

Bury Council leader, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien praised the report, and said on Twitter: “ A really welcome report from NP_Partnership about how to improve lives in the North.

“Great to see our borough as an example of where we are making huge progress already and with lots of opportunities still to come.”

He later added: “It’s really great to see our borough held up as a town taking its future very seriously and putting in place plans to recover from Covid.

“It shows we can’t just stand still and must constantly work hard to improve people’s lives and make it a better place for local businesses.

“We have great confidence that the Northern Powerhouse Partnership recognises that

“First and foremost, we must now have a vision for our future that connects with the communities we have, because we have several communities and we have different plans for each of them.

“What works for Radcliffe won’t work for Ramsbottom, or Tottington, so we have to be aware of that as we implement our strategy going forward.

“There is no doubt we have all had a tough time dealing with the pandemic, and that weight heavy on local people.

“It puts pressure on our businesses and people, but what this report shows is that we should be optimistic for the future.”