Worried Prestwich traders and customers have shared scepticism about major regeneration plans as the council prepares to unveil £100m proposals.  

Plans to transform the Longfield Centre has been in the works for several years as part of the project to transform the village. 

But the time it has taken to release details of the scheme has led to uncertainty with some businesses moving out of the area.

The council and development firm Muse have announced its Prestwich plans will be on show in January and community conversations will begin shortly after.  

The plans for the centre aim to transform it into a "vibrant, family-friendly destination” with a community hub, homes, spaces for businesses and "green transport infrastructure".  

Bury Times: Mohamamed Yaseen Sherzad, from Budget SaversMohamamed Yaseen Sherzad, from Budget Savers (Image: Newsquest)

For several traders, they feel the plans come too late as footfall has already fallen at the site due to businesses relocating or not renewing licences.

Mohamamed Yaseen Sherzad, from Budget Savers, said the firm's lease ends in March and he needs to know what is happening before deciding to stay or go.  

He said: “I do have some worries, there are already a few shops that have moved out.  

“Everybody's nervous but we need to know the decision, will they repair it or destroy it?”

Bury Times: Budget Savers, Longfield Centre Budget Savers, Longfield Centre (Image: Newsquest)

One shopper said she felt the site needed to be well and truly updated.  

Another visitor, John Darwin, from Prestwich, said that after all the delays, he no longer cared about what happened, just that local, independent businesses are the focus.

Bury Times: Shopper, John Darwin, from PrestwichShopper, John Darwin, from Prestwich (Image: Newsquest)

Earlier this year, traders shared their excitement but delays to seeing the proposals have left some concerned.

READ > ‘Let’s have more hustle and bustle’: Residents and traders weigh in on £100m plans to transform Prestwich

Business manager for Village Greens, Chris Williams, said it was nice to see things finally happening but the wait to see the proposals have been inconvenient.  

He said: “It will be interesting to see the plans, we are excited to have the regeneration project but the sooner we are settled in our new place the better.  

Bury Times: Chris Williams, the business manager for Village GreensChris Williams, the business manager for Village Greens (Image: Newsquest)

“This has been going on since I started working here around five years ago.  

“The delays have caused problems with footfall through the Longfield Centre and some businesses have emptied out, as you can see by the empty units.  

“They could fill back up now a plan is in place, but we are worried that the ‘in-between times’ during building work will be even messier.”  

Bury Times: Village Greens, Longfield CentreVillage Greens, Longfield Centre (Image: Newsquest)

The plans for the centre so far seem to have given varying impressions of what may come. 

Some believe the whole area and joining roads will be pedestrianised while others say the centre will be given a “facelift" or the whole site will be demolished and re-built.  

READ > First look at plans to transform village centre

Bury Times: The Longfield Centre, Prestwich The Longfield Centre, Prestwich (Image: Newsquest)

Ryan, a young man who often visits the centre, said that despite the planned conversations, he doesn’t believe that their voices will be heard.  

He said: “I just keep seeing bits and bobs about it but we don't really have much of a choice in what happens.  

“It's going to take years to build and that's just going to cause even more mayhem, and we won't be able to come here in the meantime.  

Bury Times: Prestwich Regeneration plan Prestwich Regeneration plan (Image: Bury Council)

“There are so many new bars and shops here that have been praised for bringing more people to Prestwich.  

“My question is, if these bars have already raised the value of the village, then why change it?

"Why spend all that money here when it could be spent somewhere that really does need it?” 

Bury Times: The Longfield Centre, PrestwichThe Longfield Centre, Prestwich (Image: Newsquest)

Dubbed one of the biggest investments ever put into Prestwich, Muse and the council hope that the redevelopment will help businesses to thrive.  

The main concerns for many of the traders are who will get to stay, the new costs of being there and when and how long developments will take.  

Bury Times: Rachel Duncan, Bury HospiceRachel Duncan, Bury Hospice (Image: Newsquest)

Rachel Duncan works at a number of Bury Hospice shops and says that the Longfield Centre venue has one of the best communities with regulars going in to chat almost every day.  

She said: “The shops here bring locals together, many live on their own so it is a community place.  

“Obviously yes upgrade, but, we still need somewhere to come together and need the same shops and livelihoods to be held and kept. 

Bury Times: You & Me CafeYou & Me Cafe (Image: Newsquest)

“We do worry that we will close, work will begin and another delay will happen...what do the businesses do then?”  

Read more: Prestwich regeneration dates for conversation and plans

Many customers and workers are anticipating the plans and the first drop-in session will be held on Sunday, January 29, at Prestwich Library at the Longfield Centre. 

Bury Times: Arezoo Samadian and Omid from You & Me CafeArezoo Samadian and Omid from You & Me Cafe (Image: Newsquest)

The council and Muse encourage the sharing of views but some are sceptical about how well these will be taken into consideration.  

Arezoo Samadian, from You & Me Cafe, said: “I am nervous because we'd like to stay open but still don't really know what's going to happen. 

“If there's a plan to destroy then rebuild everything, we can't really do anything about that.”