PEOPLE in Bolton will get the chance to vote on Greater Manchester's controversial road charging scheme.

Last night, Bolton Council unanimously passed a motion to hold a poll on the plans, should the Government give the scheme its backing.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) has bid for £3 billion of Government cash to fund public transport improvements, including a new transport interchange at Bolton railway station and an 11-mile bus corridor linking the town to Manchester.

Proceeds of the road charges, which could cost motorists travelling into Manchester city centre up to £5 per day, would be used to repay £2 billion of that cash.

But Bolton's Liberal Democrats said the only way to properly consult people in the borough about the plan would be to hold a public vote.

And at last night's full council meeting, transport spokesman Lib Dem Cllr David Wilkinson moved a motion to hold a referendum, should the council indicate its intention to proceed with the plans.

He said: "We should consult the public on this issue. The decision should be between those who have to use public transport and those they are asking to pay the congestion charge."

The motion was supported by the Conservative and Labour councillors.

Conservative leader Cllr John Walsh said: "This party remains opposed to congestion charging. However, I believe the motion does not go far enough. I propose we have a poll on the issue on May 1."

He then handed in a 22-name petition to that effect.

Cllr Nick Peel, executive member for environmental services, said: "We supported the bid. We have always said it would be folly not to at least seek further information about what was on offer.

"If the Government says yes to the AGMA bid, the executive would only give its support if it was in the best interests of this borough. If we decide it is, we would not have a problem with holding a poll on the issue."

Speaking with regard to a congestion charge for the borough, council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: "I have always said I will never ever support a congestion charge for the people of Bolton."