A much-debated scheme to equip volunteers with speed guns may finally be ready to deploy recruits.

The Community Speed Watch plan was approved in 2021 but since then has been beset with delays and a “disappointing” take up.

But a meeting of the council last week heard how the scheme has now recruited volunteers in the Farnworth area, who may be able to be deployed elsewhere as well.

Cllr Rabiya Jiva, cabinet member for stronger communities at the council, said: “Disappointingly, especially given the volume of road traffic collisions on Bolton roads and this being a priority for everyone we have had limited take up for the scheme.

“But the area we have had a few nominated roads for the scheme is Farnworth, interviews for the volunteers have now been scheduled.”

The Bolton News: The scheme was discussed at Bolton Town HallThe scheme was discussed at Bolton Town Hall (Image: Newsquest)

She added: “Given the number of applicants for the Farnworth scheme we are hoping if they all pass then we can find other suitable roads for them in addition to roads in Farnworth.

“Councillors are invited to apply for themselves if they want to be part of Community Speed Watch.”

The scheme was first conceived as a way of dealing with long running complaints about speeding all over Bolton and was proposed by Cllr Madeleine Murray, then of Great Lever, in 2021.

The council was told last year that this at first met some reluctance from Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

But both the now ruling Labour Group and opposition Conservatives have since given the scheme their backing.

In April 2022, Cllr Jiva’s predecessor as cabinet member for stronger communities, Cllr Mudasir Dean, said there hadn’t been “much progress” with the scheme but they hoped to start by that summer.

Cllr Jiva has now said that the scheme has been discussed further over the last year and that other members have been asked to nominate roads and suggest volunteers.

She had been responding to a question put by Cllr Nadim Muslim, of Bromley Cross, about how the plan was progressing.

Cllr Jiva said: “Councillors are invited to apply for themselves if they want to be part of the Community Speed Watch.”

She added: “If Cllr Muslim would like to nominate a road in Bromley Cross and volunteer to run the scheme then we will arrange for the checks to be done and adverts published.

“To date, it is my understanding that there has not been a road nominated or volunteers identified in Bromley Cross so we await this until we can assess the suitability.”

But she said she would help “bridge the gap” between would-be volunteers and representatives in the area if necessary.

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Cllr Muslim told the meeting that he had long lobbied “forcefully” for the scheme to be introduced.

He said: “Speeding is a particular issue in my ward, with roads such as Turton Road, Darwen Road, Chapeltown Road, and Blackburn Road facing numerous and constant reports of speeding.

“And so we launched our three point plan to tackle speeding.

“We’ve already held a special meeting with GMP, council officers, councillors and residents to address these concerns.

“We’re now working on securing more police operations in Bromley Cross too.”