A DECISION over whether to introduce controversial traffic measures around a secondary school has been deferred after residents claimed it would have a devastating impact on their lives.

Planning conditions require Durham County Council to introduce a traffic management plan around Whitworth Park School and Sixthform College in Spennymoor, which opened in September following the merger of Tudhoe Grange and Spennymoor Schools.

The plans, which are aimed at easing congestion and improving safety, include creating a two-lane approach to the Whitworth Road traffic lights from both Grayson Road and Clyde Terrace and introducing a pedestrian phase at the lights to make it easier for pupils to cross the road.

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Highways officers also recommend introducing waiting restrictions in Whitworth Road, Clyde Terrace and Grayson Road to stop parked cars, especially parents dropping off and collecting pupils, from obstructing the two lane approach and blocking school buses.

However, the move would also leave several Clyde Terrace residents with nowhere to park their cars on a street where parking is already a contentious issue.

At a highways committee meeting in County Hall in Durham City today (Thursday, January 17), resident Darren Moore said it would impact on property prices and restrict access for the emergency services.

Mother-of-three Kirsty Bell said: “There will be nothing between our houses and 30mph traffic. You have spoken about the safety of pupils going to the school – what about the safety of our children?”

And Spennymoor councilors Ben Ord and Kevin Thompson argued it was impossible to predict the effect the school merger would have on traffic until the work was complete.

Brian Buckley, strategic highways manager at Durham County Council, said no-one had a legal right to reserve a space on the road, adding: “The highways authority has to seek to improve the movement and capacity of the junction.”

Coun Carol Woods proposed deferring the decision and revisiting the plans after a site visit a a proposal that was backed by the rest of the committee.

Coun Dorothy Bowman said: “Everyone is entitled to a peaceful life and I don’t think lives should be disrupted just because there is a school around the corner.”

Resident Donna Bell said residents were pleased the decision had been deferred but remained frustrated.

“We made a lot of valuable points but we feel most of our questions went unanswered,” she said.