Roads already used as 'rat runs' could become busier yet if major redevelopment works do not take such streets into account, councillors have warned.

The Streets for All plan to make areas more pedestrian friendly, is part of the wider redevelopment of Farnworth town centre aimed at improving public spaces around the area.

But Cllr Melanie Livesey, who represents Kearsley, says she is concerned about the impact it could have on traffic in her area.

She said: "I welcome the redevelopment of Farnworth Town Centre and the proposed Streets for All.

“However, I have reservations about southbound vehicles being forced to slow down that may result in traffic being backed up to Moses Gate.

The Bolton News: Plans showing the layout of the new developmentPlans showing the layout of the new development (Image: Public)

“Motorists may, with the assistance of in-car navigation apps, be tempted off the main roads and onto the side streets. 

“The Kearsley/Farnworth Boundary runs down Market Street and Higher Market Street but if motorists do try to avoid Streets for All, it is likely that Kearsley residential areas will face the brunt on already congested roads.”

She added: "The streets of Kearsley are already seeing numerous rat runs and this is a huge problem for residents who live in the west of Kearsley, especially around Lord Street and the Grosvenor Street estate.

"Residents have come forward complaining that they cannot get out of their own street because of congested traffic on these rat-runs, particularly Station Road and Randolph Road."

The Streets for All plan will include plans to improve the space around the Home Bargain branch in Farnworth as well as widening some of the pavements around Market Street.

It will also include tree planting and traffic management measures.

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But Cllr Livesey’s concern is about the knock-on effect that this could have on smaller streets in the area such as on Presto Street, Church Road, Lord Street, Grosvenor Street, Howard Avenue and Oakes Street.

She said: “The area already has some of the most polluted roads in Greater Manchester and I am worried that if there is an increase in traffic on these roads then pollution will get even worse.”

Cllr Livesey and her colleagues now hope to ask for an evaluation of the full effects that works are likely to have on traffic flow in the area before Streets for All is brought in.

She is planning to put these questions at the next full meeting of Bolton Council on Wednesday September 6.