FRESH fears have been raised over potential traffic congestion caused by a new supermarket opening in Sedgefield this year.

Durham County Council’s planning committee unanimously approved plans for the 5,100sq m Sainsbury’s store on Salters Lane Industrial Estate in December 2011.

At the time, Sedgefield Town Council and many residents supported the application but others raised concerns over traffic congestion.

And with the new store set to open in May, complete with car park and petrol station, the fears have resurfaced.

Leo McCormack, who lives in Winterton Park, is unhappy with the traffic assessment carried out as part of the planning process and believes more should be done to address potential congestion.

He said the Salters Lane roundabout already experienced heavy traffic due to the popularity of George Bolam Foods, especially on the run up to Christmas and when special offers are run.

“I have nothing against both stores but the reality is going to be gross congestion,” he added.

Steve Clasper, Sainsbury's project manager, said the transport assessment had been discussed and agreed with Durham County Council.

“The assessment found that the existing highway network can cope with any additional traffic generated by the new Sainsbury's store,” he said.

"To encourage shoppers and colleagues to travel to the store by non-car modes of transport, there is a dedicated pedestrian and cycle access at the south-west corner of the store and there is a bus stop close to the site.”