HOMEOWNERS are becoming increasingly concerned as surveys begin into the prospect of a motorway extension which could be built in Kearsley at the expense of people’s properties.

In 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) put forward proposals for two major highways to be built, with one connecting the M61 to the M62 via a completely new stretch of road which would branch out from the Kearsley Spur.

Inquiries into the viability of such a scheme are still ongoing, but Highways England has recently sent surveyors to a number of sites around Unity Brook and Moss Lane, creating new fears that the plans have ramped up.

Local councillor Julie Pattison explained that there is “uproar” among residents who are concerned about the threat of compulsory purchase orders (CPO) on their properties, which, even if they are not implemented, could result in falling house prices in the area.

“At the moment there’s a lot of concern about the potential for CPOs,” she said.

“They are worried they could lose their properties or that prices might start dropping on their homes.”

Cllr Pattison, who sits on Bolton Council’s Health Overview and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee, also believes the development of a motorway extension would be “completely against the wellbeing agenda” and have a major negative impact the lives of people in Kearsley.

However, a spokesman for Highways England was keen to emphasise that the proposals are still in their initial stages, with surveyors currently collecting data which will be used to make a final decision on the project.

They said: “We’re currently carrying out a study into how we could relieve pressure on the M60 and ensure the area’s economic growth potential is not constrained in the future.

“We’re contacting some land owners about carrying surveys out to help us gather information to help inform long-term plans. The study is still in its early stages and we will be carrying out further work over the next few years.”

The extension is part of a wider project called the Manchester North West Quadrant Study, which could cost as much as £5.4 billion and aims to relieve pressure on the M60 between junctions 8 and 18.

This ‘Northern Corridor’ would involve creating a new curved section of motorway outside the circuit of the M60 that would extend the M58 from its junction with the M6 to create a new link with the M61 cutting through Westhoughton around junction 5.

Drivers would then travel down the M61 to the Kearsley Spur where a second extension would branch east across Kearsley and the southern section of Bury to meet the M62 east of junction 18.

Alongside this, there would be rail capacity upgrades between Manchester and Wigan, Liverpool and Preston.

There are also two other potential multi-billion pound investment packages suggested.

One of these involves creating a new ‘outer orbital’ ring road outside of the existing M60 motorway, linking the M62 at junction 12, with drivers travelling along the M61 and on to the M62 at junction 18.

The third and final ‘in-corridor’ package could involve a programme of improvements to “significantly” enhance the capacity, performance and resilience of the M60.

If any of the programmes are approved, work is likely to begin during the next Road Investment Strategy period, from 2020-2025.

Here's key five facts on the motorway extension plan

Explaining the views of residents, Cllr Pattison said she thought the extension programme would put more pressure on the local roads which would feed the new section of motorway.

She added: “The extension might relieve pressure on the motorway but all the roads in the area will be much worse.

“It’s a sticking plaster solution, it seems like a good idea but it’s just going to cause more issues.”

Residents will discuss the issue alongside other problems at an open meeting on Friday. The meeting will be attended by local MP Yasmin Qureshi and will be held at 7pm at the St John Fisher Church, on Manchester Road.