THE final stage of a new cycle path through Darcy Lever and Breightmet has been given the go ahead.

Councillors approved the final section of the new Bolton East Cycle Way, running from Scholey Street to Gorses Road over St Peter’s Way, Burnden Viaduct, the disused railway and Darcy Lever Viaduct, crossing St Peter’s Way.

It will link up with a second part of the path, approved in February, from Gorses Road along the New House Farm playing fields down to the old Bury-Bolton railway line.

Residents of Lower Darcy Street and Woodside Place attended the planning committee to complain that the new path could lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour, and opening up the viaduct could mean an increase in suicides.

Woodside Place resident Brian Olive told the committee: “My big concern is there will be more vandalism to the properties next to the cycle way.

“Kids might start throwing stones onto the houses below.”

In response councillors decided to ‘cage’ the portion of the cycle way which runs over the Darcy Lever viaduct, to protect the residents below.

Cllr Bob Allen told the committee: “I have never been that supportive of cycleways on main roads, I think they are dangerous.

“But I am a big supporter of off-road cycle ways — it gets people out for healthy exercise, and it gets people off the roads.

“I wonder whether we can also have a cover over the bridge over St Peter’s Way, I don’t want to see kids throwing rocks on to cars travelling at 50mph.”

Additional cycle paths will also be created on roads near to the University of Bolton, to link with Scholey Street.

The path will form part of the National Cycle Network, a series of safe traffic-free lanes and quiet on-road routes across the UK.

Cllr Nick Peel, head of environmental services, said the path had been funded through ring-fenced government money, dedicated to creating more cycle ways.

He added: “It is part of our agenda to encourage more cycling as an alternative form of transport by making cycle routes safer, and the safest are off-road.”

Bolton Council voted to name a cycle way after Olympic star Jason Kenny back in 2012, but a spokesman for the authority said they had not decided whether to name this path after the double gold medallist.