Controversial plans to close train station ticket offices across the country, including four in Bolton, have been condemned in the Bolton Town Hall.

The wave of proposed closures up and down the country will see ticket offices in Lostock, Bromley Cross, Farnworth and Daisy Hill amongst up to 1,000 permanently shut, while hours will also be reduced at the office at Bolton train station.

A meeting of Bolton Council last week heard how this could be “potentially disastrous.”

Cllr Rob Morrissey, of Breightmet, said: “These cuts pose an issue for people with accessibility issues, elderly residents, tourists and frankly anyone who doesn’t quite know how to get to their desired destination.

“Not only will this be damaging to users and their experience of the service but also incredibly insulting to the staff who work at these offices, who work tirelessly to assist travellers and provide a high quality and valuable service.”

The Bolton News: Hours will be reduced at Bolton Train Station's ticket officeHours will be reduced at Bolton Train Station's ticket office (Image: Newsquest)

The proposal to close the ticket offices has already provoked public protests across the borough, with the Bolton Pensioners Association having launched a petition opposing the cuts.

A public consultation on the future of the ticket offices, which had been due to close last week, has now been extended to September 1 this year.

Responding to Cllr Morrissey’s question, Bolton Council leader Cllr Nick Peel said he felt the government was “picking fights” with train passengers and trade unions.

He also said that closing ticket officers would affect elderly people, disabled people and people who’s first language wasn’t English the most of all.

Addressing last Wednesday’s council meeting, Cllr Peel said: “This is about digital exclusion and it is being ignored.”

ALSO READ: Latest on controversial proposals to close ticket offices in Bolton's train stations

ALSO READ: Legal action against closure of Bolton train station ticket offices announced

ALSO READ: Bolton train station ticket office latest after closures announced

But he said that he hopes the government extending the consultation period could show that the proposals to axe offices could still be stopped.

 “As we know, there has been a legal challenge from the Metro Mayors and this has resulted in a bit of good news which is that the consultation process which had been due to close today has now been extended to September 1.

“A small victory and I think we should all take a little bit of hope from that slight step back.

“Let’s hope that this leads on to bigger things, that the actual proposals themselves can be stopped.”