VILLAGERS affected by the closure of a road damaged by a landslip are calling for more council support and improved safety measures on the diversion route.

Parish councillors, residents and business owners in Gainford, County Durham, raised several issues over the year-long closure of the A67 between Piercebridge and High Coniscliffe, near Darlington, while the road at Carlbury is repaired.

The diversion will be via the B6275, B6279 Staindrop Road, B6280 Carmel Road North and A67 Coniscliffe Road, starting in May.

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Officials from Darlington Borough Council attended a meeting of Gainford and Langton Parish Council yesterday (Monday) to discuss the scheme.

Councillor Sarah Hannan described Staindrop Road as being like “wacky races” while being used as a diversion.

She said: “I still don’t think that Darlington (Council) understands just how dangerous the junctions are that the detour goes through.

“Unfortunately, they are still resisting putting some sort of traffic controls in place.

“We understand there is no viable alternative.

“But we need assistance in putting traffic controls on the junctions to make them safer.”

Several business owners who attended Monday’s meeting expressed fears over the negative impact on trade caused by the road closure.

The bus service has also been reduced from running every 30 minutes to an hourly service.

Coun Hannan called on the borough council to install signs on the diversion route stating the businesses were open as normal in Gainford.

She said: “It really does affect the village badly.

“There is a sign in Darlington saying that the Spotted Dog pub in High Coniscliffe is still open but there is nothing for Gainford.”

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said the authority would look at all comments received from the public and businesses before the road closes to address how to reduce the impact and investigate safety concerns.

She added: “We recognise the effects the project has on both residents and businesses, however, it is inevitable, due to the A67 being an important strategic link and the complexity of the project, that there will be disruption and changes to the way people have to travel.

“It is vital that this important link is repaired and the certainty for road users restored as soon as practicably possible.

“We will continue to work together with all concerned.”