The idea of a pedestrianising a section of Horwich town centre is being considered.

Horwich and Blackrod First councillor Ryan Bamforth has published a sketch of a possible traffic free section of Winter Hey Lane in the town centre which would have outdoor seating for cafés and bars, with planters defining space for outdoor dining and atmospheric lighting encouraging evening visitors and shoppers.

Cllr Bamforth said informal meetings between council members and Bolton Council officers had taken place but no official plans had yet been drawn up.

The Bolton News: Winter Hey Lane51

He said the discussions had proposed a possible pedestrian area on Winter Hey Lane between St John Street and Wright Street/Captain Street – meaning the current free car parks for visitors would still be open for use.

He said that at this early stage he had decided to ask for views from the public so he could put forward more informed views at any future meetings on the subject.

He said: “I haven’t stated whether I’m for or against a proposal like this and am just trying to get as many views as possible.

“I was elected to represent the people of Horwich and just want to get as many opinions on matters like this that I can.

“I’m asking the question to gauge the public’s opinion so it can be taken forward to officers at Bolton Council.”

Cllr Bamforth said he had asked for opinions on various ‘Horwich’ related groups on Facebook and there had been hundreds of comments from residents with a wide range of views.

On the Horwich & Blackrod Noticeboard Facebook group Cllr Bamforth’s request and sketch had garnered more than 200 comments. Many were critical of any closing off of Winter Hey Lane with several saying it would drive through traffic to nearby side roads an affect businesses in the town centre.

Others said that a similar scheme had been implemented in the 1990s and ‘didn’t last long’.

One commenter, Laura Mo, said: “It’s already hellish to drive through Horwich during busy times – pedestrianisation just creates more traffic jams, frustration, and more air pollution. “There also isn’t the footfall to warrant this approach.”

However, David Miller had a different opinion. He said: “I think its a great idea having previously lived in areas such as Sale and Altrincham that have pedestrians zones.

“It should bring in more new businesses to the area and the increased footfall would also be beneficial to those business which already exist in the area. “It would be a well needed catalyst of increased socialising in the town centre.

“A town lives and dies by the way the centre is utilised.

“We all shop online now – this would open up more cafés, pubs and specialised shops to you on your doorstep.”