A MILE-long stretch of road which has become a speed trap is one of the latest areas in Bolton to benefit from new speed cameras.

MARY NAYLOR reports.

WHEN Edna Aspden moved to her home in the heart of Belmont 30 years ago, the M65 did not extend to Preston.

She remembers how quiet the route, just outside her front room, used to be.

Now, Mrs Aspden, 76, describes how cars hurtle down Belmont Road, regularly exceeding the speed limit of 30mph. 

It’s for this reason new average speed cameras have now been installed between San Marino and Bolton Sailing Club.

Edna, who has lived in Belmont all her life and moved to her current home around 30 years ago, said: “When I first came here there wasn’t half as much traffic. I could sit in the window and watch the telly. Now I have triple windows.

“The volume of traffic is four or five times more. It’s horrendous the speed of the traffic.”

Traffic through Belmont has grown and grown since the M65 was opened at the end of the A675 in 1997.

As the road, which cuts through the once sleepy village, got busier speeds began to increase and the road developed a sinister reputation.

In 2010 it was named among the UK’s eight deadliest roads.

In late 2017 the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership installed nine cameras along the A675 from Scout Road to junction three of the M65. However, they have not been enough to slow drivers down.

Four extra cameras have now been added to lampposts in the village facing northbound traffic.

Lancashire Constabulary, who operate cameras in the area, said it continually evaluates the data from its average speed camera routes to make changes where necessary.

Following an analysis of the data from Belmont Road/A675 police were able to see that there had been a marginal increase in driver speed.

The extra cameras went up around March 4 this year.

Lancashire Constabulary confirmed it had seen a reduction in speeds since their installation and that they had been positively received.

Villagers say they are pleased to see the cameras added to their stretch of the A675 in a bid to slow motorists hurtling through.

Edna continued: “The cameras have made a difference.

“Generally the speed in the village was quite bad.”

Both Mrs Aspden and her neighbour Manuela Smith said the village faced an influx of drivers at rush hour.

Mrs Aspden said: “You can’t cross the road.”

Mrs Smith’s 11-year-old son attends Belmont Primary School in Ryecroft Lane, just off the main road.

She said: “I worry letting him cross the road.”

However, Mrs Smith said she was unsure the four new average cameras were making a difference, preferring the rear-facing fixed speed camera that used to be in the centre of Belmont.

She said: “I think that was better. I think a big island or a signal crossing would be a lot safer.”

Village postman David Yates said: “Some people do the 30mph but there’s a hell of a lot coming through over 50mph.

“A lot of people probably don’t know they are there or think they are the 50mph ones, even though there’s 30mph signs at either end of the village.”

Another resident living in the main road, who did not wish to be named, said he had seen the village get busier and busier since the M65 opened in December 1997.

He said: “Since they opened the M65 everybody comes through here now. When we moved here it was a quiet little village — now it’s a very busy road.

“During the daytime it’s not a pleasant experience. The M65 has made a huge difference to living here.

“You get 40-tonne lorries coming through speeding. They are particularly bad.”

Mrs Aspden also worried about the speed and number of lorries coming through the village. She explained they were sometimes forced to use the wrong side of the road to avoid parked cars.

She said: “The big lorries, they are really bad now — it’s the M65 really.

“I tend to cross at the island but sometime the lorries go round it on the outside, on the wrong side of the island. You feel like they are coming at you.”

She said she often feels vulnerable while waiting for a bus into Bolton while at the stop in Belmont Road because it is close to the small crossing island.

Lancashire Police said the new cameras, which are fixed to lampposts instead of being free-standing, were done this way to avoid disruption to residents in the village.

Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA explained the positive impact speed cameras can have on journeys, driver behaviour and fuel consumption.

He said: “Average speed cameras have been proven to work in rural roads. It’s going to be annoying for drivers. A lot of drivers would believe they are safe drivers, the issue is you get the rogues.

“Speed cameras are placed where there is an obvious accident blackspot.

“Also, average speed cameras tend to string out the traffic as drivers observe the speed limit, which is a good thing. It means you get a smoother journey and you have not got anyone tailgating.

“It also saves fuel.”