ONLY one in six people from Bolton who took part in a consultation on the proposed congestion charge for Greater Manchester are “positive” about the plans.

Out of 7,818 residents who gave feedback during the three-month public consultation, just 1,312 left favourable comments, while double expressed at least one view classed as ‘negative’.

The results were released by poll company, MORI, which is running December’s public vote on the proposed peak-time charge and accompanying £3bn public transport improvements.

It also reveals that within Bolton’s business community, negativity towards the scheme exists.

Out of 229 responses from local businesses, only 25 (10.9 per cent) were classed by MORI as ‘positive’ while 120 were ‘negative’.

Yesterday, groups on both sides of the controversial issue claimed the figures added weight to their argument.

MORI stressed that the figures were only feedback and not an opinion poll. Cllr John Walsh, leader of Bolton’s Conservative group, said: “Bolton is clearly saying that the politicians who want this have got it terribly wrong.

“It is an unworkable, impractical idea at a time of increased taxation and financial crisis which amounts to a stealth tax on the motorist.”

A spokesman for the Stop the Charge coaltion said: “The results clearly show the people of Bolton are against the current proposals by a majority of almost two to one.

“Traffic is not bad enough to warrant the proposed congestion charge.”

But “Say Yes” campaigners argue that people who are against the plans were up to four times more likely to have responded during the consultation and claimed their own polls revealed widespread support.

A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive, which has made the bid for the Government money, said the figures did not reflect the overall view of the public.

“The breakdown of public responses illustrates the number of respondents who had a positive or negative attitude to at least one of the elements of the package – not that they necessarily had a positive or negative attitude towards the package as a whole.”

The consultation has led to changes being made to the original public transport improvements, with money earmarked for Bromley Cross train station.

The revised package will be considered by all ten councils at a meeting on Friday.