Plans to give Bury Interchange a "radical overhaul" have moved forward after £2.6m was signed off for the project, which is tipped to make the site "fit for the future".

The proposals are part of Greater Manchester's Bee Network masterplan to mirror a London-style integrated transport system with the interchange identified as a site that needs improvement. 

The Bury plans will see the Metrolink platform refurbished to include more capacity, a new shelter, and an extra southern step free access.

A new vertical circulation core will be provided with lift, escalator and stair provision to integrate the Metrolink stop with the new bus and active travel facilities at ground level.

The redevelopment is part of the £1.07bn City Region Strategic Transport Settlement awarded by the government to level up the region but money for the scheme will also be provided by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

In a GMCA meeting on Friday, council leaders, including Bury's Cllr Eamonn O'Brien, gathered to approve a further £2.6m being used from the authority's Greater Manchester’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) fund.

It has previously been estimated that the interchange, which will be the first in Greater Manchester to be carbon neutral, will cost around £81m.

At the meeting, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “This will be a very big symbol of the Bee Network as we integrate the tram and the older Bury bus station.

“I think the integration of tram and bus in Bury could be very attractive with regards to a wider regeneration of the town like we have done in Stockport.”

Cllr O’Brien shared Mr Burnham's optimism and said the project contributes towards Atom Valley- a mayoral development zone plan across Bury, Rochdale and Oldham which has the potential to create around 20,000 jobs and build 7,000 homes.

He said: “The interchange is in need of quite a radical overhaul and it’s not just an interchange project.

"This isn’t just about having a shiny new building for buses to pull into this is part of a much wider improvement of the town centre, making it fit for the future, making it fit for an integrated transport network of the future which we will deliver in Greater Manchester.

"It’s really important to expand our capacity for tram and train going over to Rochdale, unlocking enormous potential alongside the northern gateway so on some really big ambitions for Greater Manchester this can be a symbol for us, so I do welcome this as very positive progress.

“I hope the Department of Transport and the government welcome it as we have, and I hope we all will here today (Friday), but obviously we just want to get on a deliver it as quickly as possible.

“It’s a strong case, it’s got that positive impact on the rest of the town and a large part of Atom Valley so with that being said I hope we’ll have support behind this as we have had from the beginning and look forward to a positive response from the government in the new year.”

A report ahead of the meeting shows that the "overall local contribution, financed by borrowings, for the Bury Interchange redevelopment for the current CRSTS tranche, up to March 2027, is £10.8m".

READ > Plans to create new Bury Interchange moves forward after funding announcement

Mr Burnham added that creating places where tram meets bus will be a very positive opportunity.

He said: “This continues the process of going around Greater Manchester and investing in a modern transport interchange in all of our districts, there has been a new bus station in Wigan and Bolton not too long ago.

“In readiness for the Bee Network, we are creating places where tram meets bus as this will be, it’s a very positive opportunity.

“We also look to increase our efforts on fare evasion, we want to look at locations like Bury which are very popular for the tram where we have the ability to improve revenue protection."

Mr Burnham added that the region will "get tougher on fare evasion".

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