Today my colleague Cllr Christine Wild and I attended a very productive, very informative meeting regarding the Bee Network and plans for making Westhoughton and Chew Moor better for pedestrians & cyclists. There is still a long way to go before any of the plans we discussed can come to fruition but there are funds available to make improvements, so that’s great news.
The Bee Network has £160,000,000 earmarked for improvements to pedestrian and cyclist access across Greater Manchester and a large amount of that fund can be made available to Bolton borough; which means we can get some significant changes made in Westhoughton if we put our minds to it and make our plans workable.
Cllr Wild and myself raised the issue of the lack of lighting on Wingates Park, which precludes the park being used safely on dark nights (i.e. most of the autumn and winter) despite the park being a popular access route for walkers; children playing in the park; cyclists; dog walkers; and people who work on the industrial estate.
I also raised the odd situation we have in Chew Moor village where the footpath on one side of St John’s Road simply ends near the motorway bridge, then begins again after the access point for the sports grounds.
This means anyone heading to the sports facilities from Chew Moor who happens to live on the left-hand side of the road as you head to the bridge (i.e. almost everyone in the village) has to cross the busy St John’s Road, then cross the busy Chew Moor Lane just to get to the sports grounds. This is a ridiculous situation and I’m hopeful this can be sorted out with a new extension of the existing footpath.
Cllr Wild noted that we Conservative Councillors have worked for years to keep the footpath down the side of St Thomas’ School on Molyneux Road clear, so people can walk their kids to and from school without having to go near the busy roads for most of their trip. We are looking into further improving this path as part of the Bee Network; which would be a significant help for schoolchildren and their parents alike.
These are just some of the options we have put forward and there will be even more from other residents’ groups, including those from the Bee Network meetings run by the gentleman Christine and I met with in January. All the options will be presented to the Active Travel Forum at their next meeting; and we’ll see what they decide to take forward.
All of this is great news for Westhoughton and Chew Moor. Our goal is to make it safer, pleasant and appealing to get around our town without resorting to driving. Let’s hope our ideas are taken up.