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Families continue fight against road changes
FAMILIES who failed to convince councillors not to introduce traffic measures near their homes are appealing against the decision fearing it will increase road dangers.
Durham County Council’s special highways committee approved officers’ proposals for four lane ends near Whitworth Park School and Sixth Form College, in Spennymoor, on Wednesday.
Members agreed to introduce waiting restrictions to stop cars parking on stretches of Whitworth Road, Clyde Terrace and Grayson Road so two lanes can be created on both the Grayson Road and Clyde Terrace approach to the crossroad.
A pedestrian phase to existing traffic lights, so walkers can stop traffic to cross the road, will also be installed.
Officers say it will deter parking near the school gates, improve safety and reduce congestion and access problems particularly for buses accessing the school which is being redeveloped on the former Spennymoor School site following its merger with Tudhoe Grange School.
But residents who live nearby believe the measures will make the road more dangerous.
Mother-of-three Kirsty Bell, who also minds a two-year-old, said: “Some days I’ll have four children to unload from a car and get inside, I don’t know how I’ll do it without putting them at risk.
“It is also a massive invasion of privacy as double-decker buses will be right next to our windows with the extra lane.”
Donna Bell, who also has three children, added: “Lots of children live or visit grandparents here and they’ll not be made safer by this.
“We see accidents and near misses at the lights, this will only get worse with two lanes making the turns tighter for vehicles.”
Darren Moore accused the council of exceeding the original planning conditions for the school and of ignoring other measures meant to ease traffic problems such as splitting school parking between two sites and encouraging pupils to walk to school.
He said parking restrictions could only be justified at peak times and felt officers weighted the evidence against alternative schemes drawn up after members deferred a decision in January.
He said: “They have not listened to residents who see the issues with the junction first hand, 24 hours a day.”
Campaigners were also angered by the last minute inclusion of crash barriers to the scheme and the absence of some councillors who appeared supportive in January but were not at Wednesday’s meeting.