PLANS to extend the £5.85 million East Lancashire Strategic Cycleway into Haslingden have been approved by senior councillors but one proposal has already angered residents.

Lancashire County Council's cabinet last week gave the go-ahead for plans for a dual-use cycle and pedestrian track along St Crispin Way, and a section of cycle track at the junction of Station Road and Booth Street to provide protection for riders as vehicles exit from the busy A56 Haslingden Bypass.

There are also plans to provide a partly off-road route linking Hud Hey Road to Grane Road via Booth Street, Flip Road and St Crispins Way.

The cycleway improvements in Haslingden form part of the wider National Cycle Route 6, linking Accrington to Stubbins.

The next step involves improvements for cyclists to Hud Hey Road from the bottom of the B6236 Roundhill Road and the junction with Rising Bridge Road across the bridge over the A56 to Blackburn Road.

The county council is consulting on widening the footway, raising parapets on the bridge over the A56, and puting in double yellow lines in.

A report will to go to cabinet next month.

There are also plans for an off-road section linking Hud Hey Road and Booth Street.

The proposed changes to Hud Hey Road have angered local residents and their Rossendale Conservative representative County Cllr David Stansfield.

He said: "I have no problems with the cycleway itself or with encouraging cycling.

"But I do have problems with the proposed changes to Hud Hey Road and the section from Roundhill Road and to the bridge across the A56 bypass.

"The are talking about double yellow lines and widening the footpaths which will make this very busy road narrower and more dangerous for cyclists and drivers.

"I have had several local residents come to me who are angry and concerned about these changes.

"Roundhill Road is already very busy with lorries barred from the Grane Road and car drivers avoiding the average speed cameras.

"Residents will face difficult parking cars near their homes and narrowing the road will make it more dangerous for everyone.

"I cannot see the point of introducing a cycleway on a main road which goes over a bridge across what is effectively a motorway."

Stephen Young, county council transport director, said: "The nature of the valley roads means it is difficult to provide extra capacity for vehicle traffic, so providing better sustainable transport options must be a priority.

"These cycle and pedestrian routes are also largely off-road and picturesque, so should appeal to people who simply want to enjoy the outdoors, as well as serving an important purpose for commuters, and people who wants to make short journeys locally."