RESIDENTS have criticised plans to create a footpath linking a university and college with a railway station, claiming it will lead to increased anti-social behaviour.

People living in Peel Street and Graham Court, in Darlington, say proposals to build a walkway between the University of Teesside and Darlington College and Bank Top Station, will encourage youngsters on motorbikes to use it as a race track.

The three metre-wide path will follow Peel Street and merge with an existing walkway near Graham Court, before leading to the campus’, in Central Park.

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Darlington Borough Council has recommended the plans for approval, saying bollards will be used to stop motorcyclists using the route and lighting erected to make the area safe.

The proposals form part of the wider multi-million pound development of the Central Park area of Darlington, which includes 600 homes, office space and hotel and leisure facilities.

However, residents have complained to the council, claiming the path will create an intimidating and dangerous environment to live in.

One resident said: “There is already a problem with teenagers congregating nearby and drinking alcohol, dropping litter and being abusive, this would only become worse.”

Another said: “We already have people on motorbikes and quad bikes using the existing path to the side of Graham Court, making it dangerous for pedestrians.

“This would only make the situation worse.”

A report from Darlington Borough Council said the path would have no damaging effect on residents or the area.

It said: “The council looked at a number of options, including Green Street, but chose Peel Street because it provided the shortest walking time between Bank Top Station and the campus’ and offered the most safety for users.

“This development is acceptable and will not have an adverse impact on the character or appearance of the area.

“It won’t affect the amenities of nearby residents or highway safety and not give raise to issues of crime and disorder.”

The Central Park development includes proposals for a further 180 homes, and a restaurant and cafe, which could create up to 2,000 jobs.

The first phase of work is expected to start in March.