Leaders in Bury have gathered to set out "ambitious" plans to transform the borough.

Council leader, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham as well as investors, business owners and stakeholders met at the Red Hall Hotel in Ramsbottom on Thursday night.

The event set out the council's plans to deliver a more sustainable, competitive, inclusive and resilient local economy.

Cllr O’Brien opened the meeting and said: “We are a borough small in population but big in ambition and we want to deliver a huge amount on that ambition.

“Some amazing things will be happening in Bury, many of which are already underway.”

He said The Rock shopping centre opening in 2010 was a key moment for Bury, and made the town the best for retail in Greater Manchester.

Read more: Tenants in Bury’s 7,600 council homes face £8 per week rent rise

He added: “The question I had when I became leader in 2020 was what next. What else are we going to do to replicate this success. What more are we going to do to build more homes, to grow our business base and to improve people’s lives.

“Bury is building again and will be delivering.

“In the year 2019/20 we only had 200 houses built in the borough, only 200 extra homes in a population of 200,000 in the middle of housing crisis.

“That’s not good enough so we wanted to change that, and projections show in the next few years we will be building five times as many homes every year by taking the long-term decisions.

“We will prioritise brownfield sites but also release the land were necessary to build the homes that people need.”

Mr Burnham said Cllr O’Brien had his full support, and the strategy will see Bury unlock its full potential.

He said: “I think there is a very exciting decade ahead of Bury.

“You are going to see the biggest change to public transport in the borough since the Metrolink arrived on March 24.

“I’ve been looking at all the plans for the Bee Network to take control of buses in Bury.

"You have partial Bee Network at the moment, but you will have full Bee Network on March 24.

“The data from West Manchester are that those services are better than the services they replaced.

“We’re confident they will be much better in the north of Greater Manchester. That will give Bury one of the best public transport systems in the North of England.”

Mr Burnham added that he hopes that Bury will go through similar regeneration to Stockport.

Read more: Bury Council takes back homes from Six Town Housing

He said: “If I think about the Bee Network, Stockport is about to open a new Bee Network interchange next month and that will be zero carbon, the regeneration that is happening there is incredible.

"And Bury was there a decade ago but with the new interchange and the developments around the market and centre will create something even better than Stockport.

“Bringing more people into Bury and living there will boost the economy.

“Infrastructure will be coming North too, there are plans for Metrolink to come north through the site up through Middleton and Heywood and then on up to Bury.”

Cllr O’Brien and Mr Burnham also discussed the creation of a new technical education plan for young people in Greater Manchester.

Known as the Greater Manchester Baccalaureate, there will be two clear equal paths for students to choose from at 14.

One academic that will take young people to university and another that will take young people to study subjects that most employers value and go on to study T-Levels and other work-related qualifications.

Mr Burnham said: “Eamonn and I are working on a new technical vision for skills in GM.

“This is critical if we think about how we will get all the fundamentals right.

“People only want to invest if they can be sure they can access the talent.

“Eamonn and I are negotiating the ability to take more control of post 16 technical education and I’m on a mission as mayor to start talking about another GM first which will be the country’s first integrated technical education system.

“This means correcting the obsession to go down the university route which has excluded other options for young people.”

One of the main opportunities in the economic strategy will be the development of Atom Valley, which runs across Bury, Rochdale and Oldham.

Thousands of homes and jobs would be created at the major site and present a chance for Bury to grow its economy and key high value sectors like advanced manufacturing.

Mr Burnham said: “I know plans for Prestwich are moving forward and I’ve been in Radcliffe looking at those plans, but the biggest of all is Atom Valley which is a big strategic regeneration site that Greater Manchester has been prioritising for a number of years.

“It would have been so easy to let that site go for logistics or distribution, but Eamonn and other council leaders said they had high ambitions for what the site could be.

“We want to make this a world class cluster of advanced manufacturing and we’re confident Atom Valley will bring a level of prosperity to the North of Greater Manchester.”

Read more: EAMONN O'BRIEN: Councils needs more than small one off pots of money

Regeneration plans of the borough's six town centres are also ongoing.


Proposals and concepts have been set out to improve the future of the town for residents, visitors and businesses in the short, medium and long term.

This includes creating workspaces and identifying opportunities for improvements to the built environment and active travel routes in and around Ramsbottom town centre.

The council has secured £2.3m of government funding to improve walking and cycling routes in and around Ramsbottom.

The council will also be working with Transport for Greater Manchester to get better bus services for Ramsbottom and Tottington, which could include high frequency bus routes as well as Local Link services to some parts of both towns.


Bury is currently the furthest along with its regeneration journey. The proposals for the redevelopment of the Mill Gate Shopping Centre have been announced which will bring forward office, leisure and residential space in the town centre.

The town has received £20m in investment for its Bury Market "Flexi Hall" project.

This will include market improvement works, improved links to the town centre, transport interchange and Bury College.

The council said a new state of the art Bury Interchange and new step free access to the Metrolink platform is needed.

In terms of bus transportation, proposals are being looked at for the A58 Bury to Rochdale corridor to complement the Masterplan proposal to reconfigure Angouleme Way and prioritise bus movements around the south of the town centre.

This would reduce the severance the ring road creates for pedestrians and cyclists wanting to access the town centre.

A sum of £4.1m of government funding has been secured to improve walking and cycling routes in and around Bury town centre. A new bridge has also been built at Gigg Mills to help pedestrians and cyclists.


For the regeneration of Radcliffe, £20m of funding has been secured to go towards the development of a new Civic Hub to bring together key services to the heart of the town.

Other priorities for the town include the refurbishment of the market’s basement for an events space, refurbishment of the Market Chambers building, new leisure facilities, a secondary school, new housing, active travel, better links to the Metrolink and new car parking.

And £9m of funding has been secured to improve walking and cycling schemes in and around Radcliffe which will link some of the towns new and existing facilities together.

Other proposals include more high frequency bus routes, a new Metrolink stop and travel hub/park and ride at Elton Reservoir and improved routes to the existing Radcliffe Metrolink to make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle there.


There is ambition to develop the transport connections to both Bury town centre and Manchester city centre.

Customer parking for local businesses in the town centre can be difficult and both Whitefield and Besses O’Th’ Barn Metro stops and in need of improvement.

The road network in Whitefield also suffers from congestion which causes delays for general traffic and buses, and the busy A56 makes for a vehicle-dominated town centre at the moment.


Regeneration plans for Prestwich focus on the redevelopment of the Longfield Centre in the town.

This will include new and enhanced civic and health related services, new commercial units, increased residential development, improved active travel provision and maximised transport connectivity between Prestwich Village and other parts of the borough and Manchester.

Areas of Simister and Carr Clough has poor public transport connectivity. Bury New Road and Bury Old Road often experience congestion and delay which will try to be addressed.

Prestwich, Heaton Park and Bowker Vale Metrolink stops all need improving, including routes to the stops, platform access and buildings with the lifts at Heaton Park as they often break down.

Cllr O’Brien said: “We want to create more good jobs to improve people’s lives and satisfaction.

“Our transport strategy compliments the Bee Network by saying we need a transport system that gets people to the right places reliably and affordably.

“At the end of this decade, we will be a place that has higher than average growth and lower than average deprivation and a place where people can access opportunities and make their life better.”