Ambitious plans are in place to transform a Bolton retail park into a green skills centre, providing individuals and businesses with the skills for the future.
The existing Trinity Retail Park will be transformed into a community-focused green technology, business and skills hub called Greenworks.
Greenworks will be Bolton’s first low carbon business park and is set to become an environmental centre of excellence for the region.
Work could begin on the Greenworks project as soon as this summer, with the first phase of work expected to take around 18 months. The redevelopment project is being delivered in partnership with Bolton charity Urban Outreach.
The Bolton green skills centre will provide essential training on green technology for retrofit to businesses across the Greater Manchester region. This will contribute to a company’s overall energy efficiency and improve its chances of getting low carbon contracts.
Once up and running, the Bolton green skills centre will offer workspaces, meeting rooms and training centres for low carbon SMEs. It hopes to support young, low carbon companies to grow and achieve success so that they can innovate on a larger scale and transform the way we live and work.
The Bolton facility aims to push for a sustainable net-zero carbon future, supporting Greater Manchester’s ambitions to become Net-Zero by 2038, whilst providing essential support and learning for the low carbon construction and energy sectors.
The planning application submitted to Bolton Council outlines the initial work to fit out classrooms, training areas, workbenches and offices inside the main Greenworks learning unit.
Urban Outreach invested in Greenworks last year and hopes to also use the Bolton green skills centre for food storage and distribution. This will include growing food, food recycling and hydroponics to support its mission to reduce food poverty in Bolton.
The Greenworks exterior will also be improved using nature-based solutions. Green and blue infrastructure help to tackle a variety of urban climate-related challenges including flooding, drought and heatwaves as well as improving air quality, biodiversity, productivity, health and well-being. For example, the Greenworks building will feature a living wall made up of plants to improve biodiversity and air quality.
The second phase of planning will consider further sustainability options including solar panels, wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, and electric vehicle charging sites. It will also provide solutions to help the local community.
As a not-for-profit enterprise, any surplus will be reinvested back into Bolton’s local community such as, by helping people into employment.
Noel Sharpe, deputy group chief executive officer at Bolton at Home and Chair of the Bolton Vision Partnership’s Economic Prosperity Group, made the following comments: “Retrofitting houses is one of the major challenges we face if Bolton is to become carbon neutral. Green technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and rainwater harvesting are all available in the market, however, there is a large skills gap in the number of people and businesses locally who are able to fit, maintain and repair them.
“Once open, businesses across Bolton and the North West will be able to benefit from the opportunities on-site, from upskilling their staff in low carbon technologies, through to meeting like-minded companies and using the learning space on offer.”
Learn more about the Greenworks project by clicking here.