A major new industrial development could mean thousands more vehicles on the roads in the years ahead, campaigners have warned.

This comes with work getting under way at the west of Wingates site in Westhoughton aimed at creating a hugely expanded industrial estate.

But the area has already been beset with heavy traffic, with the area’s representatives warning that this could worsen in the years ahead.

Cllr David Wilkinson, of Westhoughton South, said: “We know that this is going to mean more traffic down Church Road, and Church Road struggles at the best of times.

“So over the next decade you could see something like 6,000 extra vehicles on the roads regularly, because this site is going to be developed and developed rapidly.”

The Bolton News: The Wingates site will be hugely expandedThe Wingates site will be hugely expanded (Image: The Harworth Group)

He added: “So some people will be happy, but others won’t be and the people who won’t be happy will be people living in the Wingates area.

“They will be the ones who will bear the brunt of increased traffic with no network improvements.”

Plans for the Wingates Industrial Estate expansion were approved in June 2021 and will see more than 1.1m sq ft of logistics and manufacturing space created in the area.

Supporters of the scheme have argued that it could create around 1,500 jobs, while opponents have cited concerns about the environment and increases in traffic.

Cllr Deirdre McGeown, of Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill said she was concerned about the effect this would have on the town's “already congested” roads.

She also said she hoped the new jobs would be mainly for the benefit of people in Westhoughton.

Cllr McGeown said: “New jobs will be created on this site but we want to see that as many of those jobs are for local people and in particular that training and apprenticeship opportunities are in place for young people.”

A Bolton Council planning committee meeting last December heard how developers The Harworth Group hoped to alleviate concerns about traffic.

ALSO READ: New scheme for highway expansion to 'premier employment site'

ALSO READ: Plans approved for ‘huge’ industrial estate expansion near Bolton which could bring 1,500 jobs

ALSO READ: Work starts on transformation of Wingates Industrial Estate

They proposed changing the access to the newly expanded estate by removing approved access points from Wimberry Hill Road in favour of a single access point off the A6 at Chorley Road.

This will include building a new length of the A6 carriageway as well as planning a full junction system.

The planning committee ultimately voted back in December to delegate this scheme to the council’s director of place for approval.

Work on the A6 is now expected to begin later this year.