HOUSEHOLDERS who endured months of disruption because of rail electrification works and a collapsed bridge have formed a support group in a bid to improve their area.
Reporter JOSEPH TIMAN attended their first meeting.

THE Friends of Moses Gate are considering claiming compensation from Network Rail for delays, damage and disruption caused by repairs to the railway bridge and night-time electrification engineering work on the Manchester to Blackpool and Preston line.

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The group has been set up by Jim Clarke, of Hall Lane, who held its inaugural meeting on Monday night at the Railway Hotel in Moses Gate.
He said that it felt like no one had heard of Moses Gate before the railway bridge was badly damaged 12 months ago due to a burst pipe which caused a section of it to collapse.
Residents described issues related to Network Rail’s repairs to the bridge, with some suggesting that they should campaign for compensation.
One resident, of Ivanhoe Street, complained about noise disruption caused by electrification works while another said that she is waiting for a surveyor to assess whether there had been actual damage to her property.
She said: “All the houses were literally shaking.”
The group was finally made official after Mr Clarke complained to Bolton Council about a triangle of land in the junction of Egerton Street and Bolton Road that was used by Network Rail for storage during repair work to the railway bridge.
Mr Clarke decided to set up the group when he was left feeling “downhearted” by the who failed to give him a response regarding pedestrian guardrails, benches and grass disappearing from the public space which was also being used as a car park.
He said: “That annoyed me to death. It wouldn’t stop.”
Residents joined forces to demand action on the land and now work has begun to restore the grass and benches and Bolton Council has blocked it to car-parking.
A Network Rail spokesperson later said: “We are aware of concerns from residents who were affected by the vital emergency repair work at Moses Gate bridge. Engineers made every effort to keep disruption to a minimum and anyone with concerns should contact Network Rail directly.” 
Mr Clarke described the first meeting as “wonderful” and said that he was really pleased with the 30-strong turn out.
The 64-year-old, who was the pub landlord at the Railway Hotel until 1990 and now works as a gardener, said: “Everyone who has turned up tonight proves one thing. That everyone is interested in the Moses Gate area.”
Farnworth and Kearsley First councillor, Maureen Flitcroft attended with her husband Peter, the party leader. However, Mr Clarke has insisted the group will be non-political. Mr Flitcroft said that he and the party’s councillors were invited to the meeting and wanted to show their support but were not attending for political gain.
Mr Flitcroft said: “We are concerned residents of Farnworth and Kearsley. We set ourselves up to help people like you.
“We have three councillors in the area busting their guts. What they do is good old fashioned councilling.”
He said that his party were “100 per cent” behind Friends of Moses Gate.
Mr Flitcroft also recommended that the group sets out exactly what it wants to achieve.
He said: “As soon as you do that you will gain momentum.”
Mr Clarke agreed and said that the next step for the group is to create an agenda of four or five issues.
Litter picking groups from Farnworth, Bolton North, Little Lever and Darcy Lever attended the meeting in support of the Moses Gate residents who had similar concerns.
Carol Brennan, of Glenbrook Gardens, said that she is a “community based person” but had become disheartened by local issues such as litter in recent years.
The Moses Gate resident of 28 years also said that the council had stopped cutting the grass in nearby public spaces for several years. 
She said: “I’m ashamed to invite people to the house. I hope that together we can make Moses Gate a better place to live.”
Another resident, Julie, also said that she was ashamed to welcome guests to her home because of litter. 
She said: “It’s awful being ashamed of where you live.”
The various litter picking groups hope to arrange a mass litter pick in Moses Gate to promote the group and engage children over the summer.
Cllr Flitcroft said that she had learnt just how much people in Moses Gate were bothered by litter.
She said: “It’s good to know that they are so passionate about the area.”

Friends of Moses Gate will meet at 7pm on the first Monday of every month at the Railway Hotel.