COUNCIL officials have insisted that they have no plans to change a much-maligned road junction in Darlington, but have admitted its operation will be reviewed later this year.

Darlington Borough Council has said there are no plans to make the Haughton Road throughabout into a conventional roundabout, despite repeated calls from motorists to change its layout.

Rumours suggesting that the throughabout would be scrapped had surfaced, but a council spokeswoman said that was not the case.

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However, the junction will be subject to a ‘fundamental review’ later this year as a result of the increased traffic expected from the nearby Central Park development.

The controversial throughabout was built as part of the £14m Eastern Transport Corridor in 2008 and was designed to reduce journey times in and out of Darlington.

However, motorists claim the layout is overly-complicated and that the traffic lights cause long queues at busy times of day.

Council leader Bill Dixon said the throughabout is subject to constant monitoring to make sure that it is operating as efficiently as possible and added: “We will be looking at it later in the year to make sure that it works for everyone, particularly with the extra traffic going in and out of Central Park.

“I know no-one will believe me but the volume of traffic that gets through that junction far exceeds what would happen with a normal roundabout.

“If it were a standard roundabout people trying to come out of some of the side roads would sit for ages trying to get out. As it is, everyone has to wait their turn, for four or five minutes, but everyone gets out.

“Everyone says it works better when there are no lights but sod’s law means that the lights always break down during the school holidays – everything always works better when the schools are off.”

A Darlington Borough Council spokeswoman said: "We do not have any plans to convert the throughabout into a conventional roundabout at this time. We will review the operation of the traffic signals over the summer to ensure that they are operating as efficiently as possible.

“We do intend to carry out a fundamental review of the junction later in the year. This is in light of development proposals at Central Park and adjacent to the Eastern Transport Corridor."