Residents and visitors at one of Bolton’s best-loved beauty spots have been concerned about the looming prospect of new car parking charges.

This comes after United Utilities unveiled a consultation about the future of Rivington Reservoir, including a series of questions about paying for parking, which up until now has been free.

Some of the respondents have been alarmed at this and are worried this means they have not been given the chance to say they do not want to have to pay for parking at all.

Councillor David Grant, interim leader of the Horwich and Blackrod Independents, said: “There’s a feeling that the questionnaire is quite loaded.

“It asks how much you’re willing to pay rather than whether you want to pay at all.”

He added: “Rivington Reservoir was given to the people by Lord Lever for all the community to enjoy so it would be a shame to see car parking charges brought in.”

Cllr Grant explained that people being charged at Rivington could also have a knock-on effect in Horwich with traffic and congestion driven into the town.

Horwich Town Council is now planning to respond to the company with a motion asking for more clarity in June.

Cllr Grant said: “We’re bringing in a motion at the next Horwich Town Council meeting which will draft a response to United Utilities.”

The Bolton News:

Families enjoying a traditional Good Friday walk at Rivington

Rivington Reservoir has long been one of the region's most popular visitor attractions, drawing people from all across the North West and includes the Grade II listed Lever Park.

United Utilities says this can put a lot of strain on the reservoir and as such it hopes to get people’s views on how best to secure its future.

ALSO READ: Changes afoot at a popular Bolton beauty spot

United Utilities west area catchment manager Matthew Upton said: “Unlike many other beauty spots, there has never been a charge for car parking at Rivington, but this is something we do need to consider as part of the overall review of the site and the way people access it. 

"The numbers of visitors have increased year on year, particularly since the pandemic, and that brings with it challenges especially around car parking and litter collection, for example.

"We are interested to know what local residents think, as well as visitors from further away, and any charges raised would be used entirely to help meet the increasing costs of taking care of the area for visitors.”