CYCLISTS behind a multi-million pound plan to turn the town green are hoping for its approval by the end of next month, but the scheme has sparked scepticism from those who may see their streets transform.

A £4.5 million bid to overhaul busy roads and create a cycling network across Westhoughton is awaiting funding from Greater Manchester bosses, 'cautiously' anticipated to be approved in November.

The network promises safe cycling for all above the age of 12, pledging to make 'better places to live' by encouraging people to cycle instead of driving everywhere.

But when the ideas, created by Bolton Active Travel Forum, were presented at the Westhoughton area forum on Thursday evening, residents questioned how the spacious segregated cycle lanes featured in the plans will work in practice.

One concerned resident said: "The ideas are fantastic if it was for a new build but these are already busy roads. Lots of people park on the road, where are people going to park if there's a cycle lane there instead."

There were even doubts around whether people would swap their cars for bikes even if better cycle lanes were built, the resident added: "Will people want to go out in the cold and rain and use a bike?"

The Westhoughton representative of the travel group, Mike Hutton, vowed that worries would be resolved in the consultation process if funding is granted. He said: "We have to start thinking of a different way of doing things. Building a new road won't work, it will just get filled with cars and the traffic will be just as bad."

Westhoughton councillor Christine Wild leant her support, saying: "We have to start somewhere."

The proposals are aiming to secure cash from the region-wide cycle scheme, the Bee Network, funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Major roads, including Bolton Road, could have dedicated lanes separated by a kerb and smaller roads while smaller roads might have different signals for cyclists, according to the plans. The central north-south spine through Westhoughton in the bid aims to address the lack of dedicated and safe access to schools, rail stations, retail and key employment areas.