VILLAGERS are demanding to know why a pothole-plagued road around part of their green has been left to deteriorate while a neighbouring community facing a similar problem benefited from a £100,000 improvement scheme.

Residents in West Auckland recently celebrated the completion of a project to resurface Front Street, which runs alongside part of the green.

In Evenwood, just two miles down the road, a track which borders its village green off South View, remains in a poor condition despite the local parish council's attempts to improve the situation.

Loading article content

At their April meeting, parish councillors were told both roads were classed as unadopted, both were in poor condition, but only West Auckland was chosen by Durham County Council for resurfacing.

Parish council chairwoman Barbara Nicholson said: “We did have an agreement with Durham County Council that if we put something in, they would pay something, but that fizzled out.”

She said Evenwood county councillors Pauline Charlton and Andy Turner had been contacted to ask if there was any way they could help lobby for improvements to the Evenwood green road.

Coun Charlton said: “That area of Evenwood is in a particularly bad state and I will try to help out in any way I can. I am wholeheartedly behind what the parish council is trying to do.

“If I have any money left over from my neighbourhood budget I will contribute some of that but I think the county council should pay.”

In a letter to Evenwood Parish Council, Paul Anderson, assistant policy and asset manager at Durham County Council, said the work had been carried out at West Auckland because it had been classed as a higher priority.

He explained that £8.5m was needed to bring the county's network of unadopted roads up to standard, but only £600,000 had been made available, and this had now been spent.

Parish councillors also heard that another determining factor in West Auckland's favour was the potentially dangerous state of Front Street to vehicles and pedestrians, which put the county council at risk of liability for any accidents.

However, parish councillors were not satisfied with this explanation.

Coun Arnold Smith said: “What is good for one should be good for the other.”

Parish council clerk Martin Clark is to write to Mr Anderson seeking further clarification on the issue.