FEARS have been raised about the speed limit of a rural road where a huge Woodland Trust car park is being built.

Construction is currently under way at the site off Walker Fold Road, next to the Smithills Estate, to create a 120-space car park to allow people to visit the beauty spot.

The speed limit on the road was dropped from 60mph to 50mph earlier this year but councillors and residents believe it should have dropped to 40mph.

Cllr Roger Hayes, Smithills representative on Bolton Council, said residents had been concerned about the issue.

He said: "That road is uphill and the thing that worries us about it is that the Woodland Trust is talking about having a lot of events up there.

"That would be great but there will be a lot of cars coming up. In particular, with events which go to the end of the day, people will leave and as you come from the Smithills Moor side, drivers will be going into the setting sun, so visibility will be difficult."

Walker Fold Road was one of six roads in the area that had its speed limit cut from 60mph to 50mph — the others were Chorley Old Road, Old Kiln Lane, Colliers Row Road, Scout Road and Smithills Dean Road.

Several ward councillors, including those in Smithills and Horwich North East, believed some should have been cut to 40mph.

But the report stated a 40mph speed limit would be 'unrealistically low for such a rural area' and that would not be effective.

Cllr Hayes said: "I think there is a general problem all over Bolton of cars going too fast.

"Some people do not know what speed they are doing but there are also just a lot of idiots who speed. A lot of traffic comes through that area.

"We are trying to create a Smithills Moor area as an area for recreation. There are a lot of walkers and horse riders.

"But a lot of people are always going to speed. It is an issue at the moment.

"We lost the fight to get it down to 40mph and I hope we do not have a major accident up there that proves us right.

"But we were pursuing this for months and I think we are right."

The Woodland Trust provided section 106 money to the council to help pay for the speed limit change when they first got planning permission.