CONGESTION charge plans have received a mixed reception from Bolton people and businesses who took part in a poll.

Independent polling organisation NOP interviewed 500 people in the town at random about proposals for a charge in Greater Manchester, backed by a £3bn investment in public transport.

Its survey found two-thirds backed the submission of the bid, so long as it was followed by further consultation before any schemes were introduced.

The survey team also spoke to 100 Bolton employers and discovered 57 per cent were behind the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities' plans, while one third disagreed.

However, 56 per cent of businesses were against the fine details of the proposed charge, such as days, times, routes and costs, with only 36 per cent in support. Ordinary people were also divided, with half in support and 44 per cent against.

Firms were also split when asked whether they agreed in principal with the package, to include greater council control over buses and trains combined with the introduction of road tolls.

Forty-four per cent agreed, with 41 against. Support among the public was greater, with 56 per cent behind it in principal and 33 per cent against.

NOP interviewed 5,000 people across the 10 Greater Manchester authorities and found 68 per cent of people and 60 per cent of firms behind the bid.

Bolton Council agreed to support the submission of the bid at a Council meeting on July 11 and the executive will discuss the matter again before AGMA meets to decide whether to submit the bid on July 27.

Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, said: "The results of this poll demonstrate that the people and businesses of Bolton support the Council's decision to back the AGMA bid.

"We would like to progress to the next stage and find out more from the Government, and also from more extensive consultation which will be carried out across both the borough and Greater Manchester."