UK town with entire rows of shops boarded up after email cost them millions

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    A deserted-looking town has been left with rows of boarded-up shops – but one email could have changed everything.

    Bolton now has a high street dominated by pawnbrokers and bookies, with dozens of stored closed down. Urban explorer Wandering Turnip visited the former mill town as part of his series on the decline of the Great British High Street.

    He said that while it may not be quite as run down as other former industrial centres such as Barrow and Stoke, it’s still a shadow of its former self. The YouTuber, whose real name is David Burnip, captured images of deserted shopping streets and boarded-up office buildings in his tour of the town.

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    They explained how Bolton had received several handouts from the Government’s levelling-up fund. But they'd missed the deadline on a multi-million pound application because someone at the council had forgotten to send an email.

    He explained: "There was another bid, I think it was for about £16 or 17million, and they didn't get that. Not because it was refused, but because – and the council admitted this – there was an email mishap.

    "It turned out that they just missed the deadline. They just hadn't got everything sorted by the deadline so they missed out on being able to get the funding."

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    David wryly added: “And you wonder why the high streets look like they do – look who's bloody running it…” The full story behind the email snafu, reports the Manchester Evening News, was that the various documents that needed to be attached to the email application pushed it over the maximum allowed size permitted on the council's email servers.

    He stressed that there was no guarantee that the application would have been signed off at government level even if the email had been sent before the deadline.

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    Touring the town, David explained that Bolton’s heyday was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it began to lose its stature after the First World War. “It was in the 1920s that the cotton industry started to decline here, and then after a brief surge after World War II it kind of just went down and down and down and then the mines started to close as well," he said.

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    “All the mines were pretty much shut in the 1960s here I think a few remained on the outskirts to the 1990s but not many… by the end of the 20th Century pretty much all that industry had just vanished from Bolton.” Now, Bolton’s streets are more vibrant than those of some other northern towns, but the facade is only skin deep.

    “There’s a lot of pawnbrokers,” David pointed out. “It's never great when the main stuff is pawnbrokers and bookies on your high street.”

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