RESIDENTS in Little Lever are worried their road could become a rat run for traffic once a new Tesco store is built in the village.

People living in Aintree Road say it will be targeted by drivers leaving Little Lever because the ‘racecourse’ estate it is on links up with Church Street — the main road out of the village.

Little Lever and Darcy Lever councillor Paul Richardson has raised fears about increased traffic congestion.

Bolton Council says it consulted with Transport for Greater Manchester over the potential issue of “rat running” and that, if vehicles were to bypass the development site, this would be done over a “wide network”.

Aintree Road is half a mile from the site of the future Tesco supermarket, which is on the corner of Lever Street and Crossley Street.

Its residents say the the road is already busy enough, with St Matthew’s CE Primary School and St Teresa RC Primary School less than a mile away.

They claim the new Tesco will just make matters worse.

Barrie Robertson, aged 69, said: “This whole street will become a rat run when the new Tesco is finished.

“We’ll struggle to get our cars out of the drive and there’ll be vehicles speeding up and down here like there’s no tomorrow.”

Glenda Sixsmith, aged 73, said: “Children play on this street on their own and it will be harder to keep an eye on them when there are drivers using it as a short cut.

“I’ve lived here for 49 years and this street is like Silverstone Grand Prix racing track already.

“I can see this Tesco store being a big problem for us.”

Cllr Richardson said: “I fully accept that the Tesco development is going ahead, but there are going to be consequences, which could potentially be horrific.

“When traffic builds up, we will see more cars using Aintree Road to get to the roundabout on Church Street — the whole estate needs to be 20mph, because it could become a danger to people’s safety.

“The unintended consequences of this new Tesco haven’t been fully thought through.”

A council spokesman said: “The issue of rat running was considered in some detail at the time of the planning application back in 2011, by the council and Transport for Greater Manchester.

“It was concluded that if vehicles were to look for alternative routes to bypass the development site then this would be done over a relatively wide network which would vary on a day to day basis and no improvements to routes other than Dearden Street were considered to be appropriate.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We will be a good neighbour in the community and will be conscious of how our store affects local roads.

"There are extensive highways improvements to be made as part of the build process and we hope that these will benefit the local area.”