HORWICH town centre has become the biggest 20 miles per hour zone in the borough — after nearly £18,000 was spent on speed restrictions.

New signs have been put up in the town’s main shopping street, Lee Lane, as well as surrounding streets in a bid to make the area safer for shoppers and pedestrians.

The original plans were just for the main shopping area to be a 20mph zone, but town councillors, led by the Town Mayor of Horwich Cllr Richard Silvester called for the zone to be extended as far as Green Lane, where the electronic sign has been placed.

Town council leader Kevin McKeon said: “I think this is now the biggest zone after it was extended to go all the way to Green Lane, where a number of residents have complained about cars speeding, and we have Cllr Silvester to thank for pushing for that.

“When putting the plans forward, highways safety officers were surprised when they saw the statistics of how many accidents had happened in Lee Lane and the surrounding roads — I was surprised as well. You would think that traffic would slow because of the large numbers of pedestrians — but that has not always happened.”

Money for the scheme was made available by the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership for street signs, painted road signs and a new electric sign in Green Lane.

The original proposal was advertised in April, 2014. The scheme cost an estimated £2,900 including staff costs and legal fees. The road markings and signs cost £15,000, funded by the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership Award Fund.