THE leader of a local authority which looks set to approve a blueprint to build nearly 10,000 homes in less than two decades is urging the government to rethink its road-building policies.

Darlington Borough Council’s leader Councillor Heather Scott voiced what she described as widespread dissatisfaction with the Department for Transport’s strategy of providing funding for road improvements after housing developments have been built.

A meeting of the authority’s cabinet had heard residential areas of the borough were set to become increasingly congested with traffic as more houses were built and that housing was leading development.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council, Councillor Anne Marie Curry, called on the council to ensure that roads were put in place to alleviate pressures on residential areas near large-scale developments, such those at Skerningham and Faverdale, as they were being built.

The meeting had heard an assessment of the roads needed would be undertaken for all developments, but that current Government policy was that “infrastructure follows housing”.

Cllr Scott replied that ministers had been made aware of the potential traffic headache as housing was developed.

She said: “I had a meeting in London last week and did emphasise that we wanted a differing point of view coming from them in that we should have the infrastructure in place first. At the moment the way that it works seems to be the wrong way around.

“I will continue to lobby for that. It is important that we get the infrastructure right where in the past because we haven’t has a Local Plan, in places like Middleton St George developers have been allowed to develop and have left problems that are having to be dealt with now.”

After the meeting, Green group leader Councillor Matthew Snedker agreed it was wrong to be handing responsibility FOR roads to developers.

He said residents in Brinkburn and Faverdale were still waiting for a hard top surface to be laid on the road at Bellburn Field, years after the development was completed.

Cllr Snedker said: “Local authorities have been starved of funding which means our ability to invest in properly infrastructure has been very much reduced and as a result it has been led by developers, who put in the minimum they can get away with. I would support a more pro-active approach to infrastructure funding for Darlington.”