Controversial plans to close the approach to a notorious County Durham crossroads have been put on hold after a backlash from residents. 

Angry residents and parish councillors slammed the plans to close the northbound C140 road in Kinninvie, near Barnard Castle. 

The crossroads was the scene of an appalling two-car crash on February 8, in which one vehicle smashed through a wall into a resident’s living room on Moor Lane.   

Since then, the junction has been controlled by temporary traffic lights in an effort to avoid a repeat. 

Durham County Council had planned an 18-month “experimental closure order” on the road, due to come into force today (Friday, July 7). 

The temporary traffic lights were to be removed to allow for the installation of a kerbed island and no entry signs on the C41 road just north of its Marwood/Stainton turn-off. 

This would have prohibited northbound drivers travelling from the B6278 from continuing past the turn-off to reach the B6279 Kinninvie crossroads, instead diverting them to the B6279 via the C43 and Dent Gate Lane. 

Marwood Parish Council and Woodland Parish Council hosted a public meeting at Marwood Community Centre on Monday (July 3), to discuss the issues. About 80 people attended to raise their objections  

Simon Land, clerk of Woodland Parish Council, hit out at the “draconian” plans, saying residents believe a closure would affect everyone in the community, school bus routes and commuters.

He said: “People were quite cross about the plans and the way they have been done. It has been forced on people with little consideration about what might happen at the crossroads themselves and also in the wider area.

“There are two routes that go out of Barnard Castle into Woodland and beyond, so a lot of people come through the road that is going to be closed. It will cause quite a bit of difficulty for people.

“The risk is actually very much higher now because the road they are proposing people will be sent on to has many more risks and poor junctions.”

Many of those who attended the meeting claimed that the order to divert motorists to other roads could make the situation worse.  

It is understood that those roads are not included in winter gritting routes and residents fear they could be more dangerous than the Kinninvie crossroads itself.  

Whilst a consultation reportedly did take place between local authorities, residents felt the closure was previously announced without giving them a say.  

Because of all of this, Simon said: “They have not done a good job going about it.”

He added: “Permanent traffic lights would be, by far, the best solution. But a lot of people at the meeting were asking if we could put in chicanes to slow people down.

“There just has to be better solutions, whether it be chicanes, traffic lights, or potentially turning the north side of the road into a staggered junction.

“But of course, there are costs to all of these things, and I think closing the road has just been seen as a quick, cheap way of preventing any further accidents at the Kinninvie crossroads.”

Durham County Council confirmed the 18-month experimental order has been put on hold and a full public consultation will take place.

Mark Jackson, Durham County Council’s Head of Transport and Contract Services, said: “Since publicising the order last week, we’ve received a number of local queries and concerns about it.

“We have listened to what people have had to say and we have decided the best thing to do is to pause the implementation and arrange a public meeting.

“Both ourselves and Durham Constabulary will be happy to outline the reasons for the proposal at the meeting, as well as the other options we’ve considered and the changes we’ve made to the junction in recent years.

“One of the legal features of this kind of experimental order is that formal objections are taken from the public once the changes are in place, rather than before implementation.”


He added: “We’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to contact us and assure them that we take the safety of residents and the travelling public very seriously.

“We’d also like to reassure people that we’ve fully explored all feasible options for further road safety measures at this location.”

The council have said the public meeting, which will be attended by council members and officers from Durham Constabulary, will be confirmed and held as soon as possible.