REASSURANCES have been sought that a residential street will not become a rat run as part of plans to develop the Central Park area of Darlington.

Council cabinet members have approved a “refreshed” masterplan for the area, sandwiched between Yarm Road and Haughton Road.

This will see the removal of land for approximately 150 new homes to the south of site in favour of creating additional development plots for commercial use in a bid to boost economic growth.

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The revised plan has been described as a “statement of intent” for Darlington and include the creation of a new public square, ‘Central Square’, as well as a new pedestrian and cycle bridge to link the railway station to Darlington College and nearby homes and offices.

A new road is also being built off Yarm Road to deliver a vehicular connection through the site, the impact of which will be known once highway modelling is complete.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Councillor Ian Haszeldine expressed fears motorists could short-cut across the site in order to bypass Haughton Road at peak times.

He also sought and was given reassurances that John Dixon Lane, off Hundens Lane, would not be used by traffic.

Ian Williams, the council’s director of economic growth, said that it would be a cul-de-sac.

Councillor Heather Scott, the leader of the Conservative group on the council, said consideration had to be given to car parking and said the growth of the site could mean students and others parking in residential areas.

A summary report concerning the refreshed masterplan was approved by the cabinet and will now move onto the full council for consideration.