AN “urban myth” in which it was claimed Bolton Council once planned to name streets after the horrors of the Second World War is actually true, according to a former council boss.

Last month, a political think tank published a report suggesting that the council had considered names such as Hitler Avenue for streets in a controversial housing estate.

However, the idea was slammed as “nonsense” by Bolton Council.

The report by the New Local Government Network had suggested that councils should give residents the chance to name streets and parks after their heroes.

But it also warned of inappropriate street names — and cited an “urban myth” about Bolton Council as an example.

The report said the “myth” suggested the council had “opposed a development of 365 luxury homes so vociferously that when the building work proceeded against their wishes, they sought to seek some revenge by proposing the street names Hitler Avenue, Belsen Crescent and Goering Drive as a means of deterring buyers”.

In response, Bolton Council said the story was “nonsense” and that it had never considered using the street names on what is now the Turton Heights estate.However, it has emerged that the deputy leader of the council in 1989, Guy Harkin, did threaten to name streets in a new housing development in a bid to stop it being built.

At the time, councillors had unanimously rejected an application from Barratt Homes to build 300 homes on the old Birtenshaw Hall farm in Bromley Cross.

Barratt then appealed against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, which upheld the council’s view.

However, a government minister then overturned the decision and allowed the firm to build the homes on green belt land.

Mr Harkin, who was the deputy council leader for more than 20 years, said: “We were scratching around to prevent a big national company dumping an estate on Bolton which the people didn’t want.

“After the government minister gave it the go-ahead, the only thing we had control over were the names of the streets.

“I thought if we could come up with the most nauseous names, it might prevent Barratts from building the estate.

“We wanted to do anything to prevent it being built, rather than force people to live on streets with horrible names.

“Unfortunately the lawyers said although we were legally able to do it, we would have lost it on appeal. So, it was never put forward as policy.

“The estate was built with normal street names.”

Tom Lawton, who has lived in Wrath Close since his house was built in 1997, said the inappropriate names would have made him think twice before buying the property.

He added: “I think it would be hard to live on a street with those kind of names, especially Hitler Avenue.”