Seven months of work to replace pavements in the heart of Westhoughton town centre is set to take place.

The work, costing close to £1M has been criticised by one ward councillor, who believes the money could be best spent elsewhere.

The path on Market Street is set to ripped up and replaced.

Work was originally due to start on Monday but that has  now been delayed until a suitable compound can be found to store equipment.

Concerns had been raised over possible lack of parking spaces when work starts.

Cllr David Wilkinson said money should have been spent elsewhere, saying his priority would be on car parking for the busy town.

He also wants to make sure the new pavements, which are costing £900,000, will be disability friendly.

Cllr Wilkinson said: “The digging up of the footpaths starts on Monday for seven months of removing all of the footpaths on Market Street.

“They are digging them up as part of the town centre money and they couldn’t think of anything more exciting to do.

“When I was on the steering group we had all sorts of plans but it got moved onto footpath work.

“It will be fanciful but it doesn’t actually need doing, that is the insane thing about it.

“What needs doing on Market Street is making it more disabled friendly and this is a question I have asked highways and I’ve not had an answer back yet.

“I asked are you making sure that when you are digging it up, that you make it disabled friendly.

“So if they are going to spend £900,000 on Market Street I just hope they make sure that it is disabled friendly.

“Although access to businesses will stay open and available, I have been assured of that, you can’t dig the street up without having an impact.

“The kerbs will remain, flags will come out and that’s what makes me worried about disabled access because if they are keeping the kerbs some of them are not disabled friendly.

“In three locations they are going to have super fancy flags, York stone - outside the town hall, outside the market and outside Ditchfield Gardens.

“I was chair of the steering group right at the beginning and we had lots of ideas from lots of people and fancy flags wasn’t really at the top of the list, it was things about car parking, using the civic buildings for greater community use and getting Central Park up and running so it could be used properly.

“So, there were lots of things we wanted to do in the steering group which haven’t happened and one thing which we weren’t that bothered about is now top of the list.

“It wasn’t number one priority that is for sure, it would have been to get facilities and change things and get a car park.

“Come Thursday, Friday, Saturday you can’t find a car parking space in Westhoughton.

“We are desperate for car parking spaces.”

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr Martyn Cox, said: “In 2020, Bolton Council committed £12m to regenerate the district centres of Farnworth, Little Lever, Horwich and Westhoughton.

“A Steering Group was appointed for each area to oversee the development of local masterplans, and projects were determined based on local consultations.

“All public realm works are assessed to ensure they meet accessibility criteria.

“Measures will be in place throughout the work to keep disruption to a minimum for residents and business.” 

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