BOLTON’S Conservative leader has lashed out at what he labelled a ‘wholly inappropriate’ decision not to allocate money to improve a neglected park in Bromley Cross.

Cllr David Greenhalgh’s furious comments came less than a week after it was announced that Bolton Council would be injecting £2.6 million into improving the state of roads and parks across the borough.

The funds became available after £4 million was freed up from The Octagon’s refurbishment project because of a £100 million loan the council has been able to take out for its town centre regeneration masterplan after its success in attracting investors to the scheme.

£1 million has been earmarked for the roads and pavements ­— each ward will receive £50,000, replacing £9,600 previously allocated for area forums. The £50,000 can be spent on a number of already agreed and costed roads which need improvement.

A further £1.1 million will be spent improving public spaces and streets, including upgrading footpaths or play areas.

Based on the formula, Rumworth would receive the most money- £153,890.73 - followed by Farnworth (£139,321.19) and Halliwell (£137,500).

While other wards have been allocated much less money, Bromley Cross is the only ward not to receive any money to improve its public spaces and streets.

A motion to approve the spending went before councillors at a cabinet meeting yesterday. Speaking at the meeting, Cllr David Greenhalgh, who represents Bromley Cross, said he was ‘disappointed’ and ‘angry’ that his ward would not receive any funding.

He labelled the decision to split the money according to a deprivation formula ‘wholly inappropriate’.

And he cited the example of a play area opposite Eagley Infant School, on Stonesteads Drive, which he said is in desperate need of repair.

Speaking at the meeting, he said: “I thought we had a policy in this town where every child matters, but apparently if you live in Bromley Cross, it does not. This is a play area next to a primary school on a social housing estate. We have had more pieces of equipment removed due to damage than is currently there.

“But those families are told because they live in Bromley Cross, they are getting nothing. The fact it is deemed not suitable under those allocations is absolutely preposterous. When hard working families pay council tax as they do, we believe the allocation back into neighbourhoods should be fairer.”

However, Cllr Nick Peel, cabinet member for environmental services, fired back to say he did not accept Cllr Greenhalgh’s argument, and pointed to the effect government cuts have had on the town’s most deprived areas.

He added: “All wards have suffered under austerity, but the wards that have deprivation have suffered more.

“There is a link between cuts to public service budgets and people in deprivation feeling the effects of that. Money has to be targeted towards narrowing the gap. This is a one-off additional pot and we believe it should be targeted where it is really needed.”

Smithills councillor Roger Hayes said he shared Cllr Greenhalgh’s displeasure about the funding, and called for a pot of £105,000 to be allocated to each ward instead.

He added that councillors should then be given the discretion to decide the proportion spent on roads and parks.

“I have looked at the list of roads in my ward, and I can see roads that I do not think are in bad condition,” he said. “Then I see roads that are in far worse condition.

“This is a paltry amount. £50,000 will allow me to do one cul-de-sac on that list.”

Cllr David Chadwick said he was happy to review the lists of roads so that councillors could put forward any they believed needed repairing over others. The decision to approve the funding will now go to a scrutiny committee later this month.