A RAMBLING group has lodged opposition to plans for a food van to be placed at a popular beauty spot.

The Woodland Trust plans to place the van on a section of a newly built car park on Walker Road, close to Bolton Moors.

The creation of the car park is part of the trust’s work on the Smithills Estate and is set to be joined by a visitors centre and picnic area.

However, Jackie Roberts, footpath secretary for the Ramblers Association’s (RA) Bolton Group, has raised concerns about the plans in an objection letter written to Bolton Council’s planning department.

Following a meeting of the RA committee, Ms Roberts said the plans would be “out of character” with the look of the surrounding area and could create problems because of the litter generated by the sale of food products.

She said: “[The committee] are horrified at the idea of a food concession van on the Walker Fold Car Park and wish to lodge a strong objection that it is totally out of character with the location on the edge of Bolton Moors, the starting point for peaceful walks in open country.

“They are equally concerned at the amount of litter that would be generated by such a facility; the car park on Scout Road is badly affected by litter, which spoils people’s enjoyment of the countryside.”

In response to the complaints, Mark Gordon, the Woodland Trust’s site manager for the Smithills Estate, said his organisation had employed a ranger to help keep the area clean.

He said: “To further improve the visitor experience we have submitted a planning application for high quality mobile food concession, which will complement our already approved pop-up visitor centre and picnic area.

“The bespoke food concession will use locally sourced produce and is part of our commitment to support the local social enterprise on the estate. It will be high quality unit with a design sympathetic to its setting.

“We also have a full-time ranger and a keen group of volunteers who ensure the car park and surrounds are kept spotlessly clean. In fact having a regular presence on the car park will inherently reduce the risks of anti-social behaviour and encourage visitors of all walks of life to enjoy the outdoor benefits of such a beautiful natural area.”

To view the application, visit: www.planningpa.bolton.gov.uk.