AN MP has thrown his weight behind a campaign for a signal-controlled pedestrian crossing on a busy main road.

Residents of Chester Moor, near Chester-le-Street, have handed a petition of more than 500 signatures to North Durham MP Kevan Jones, calling for Durham County Council to create the crossing on the dual carriageway A167.

Mr Jones said: “The community of Chester Moor had a long campaign to reduce the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph which the council agreed to do.

“They now want a safe crossing, which I support.”

Durham County Councillor Paul Sexton, who along with the Chester Moor Community Group is pressing for a formal crossing, said: “Over 95 per cent of residents have signed this petition, as they know how important having a safe place to cross is for the village.

“For residents, it’s not if, but when someone will be killed trying to cross this dangerous stretch of road.

“It’s not just local residents who cross this road on a daily basis. We have 1,700 homes on the nearby Waldridge Parish estates, who use the local business and public transport on a daily basis.

“Additionally, we have many young children, who attend Chester-le-Street Town FC for football training sessions and parents often prefer to drop them off in the car, opposed to running the gauntlet of them crossing the road on their own.”

He added: Cllr Sexton said: “The council say the the criteria for a pedestrian crossing is not met for this stretch of road. However, we have a pedestrian crossing a mile north on the very same road at Crichton Avenue.

John Reed, Durham County Council’s head of technical services, said: “We have looked into the possibility of creating a crossing at Chester Moor in the past and concluded that one cannot be justified.

“The road does not have a history of accidents at this location and there are few residential properties in the area resulting in very small numbers few people crossing the road there. Department for Transport guidance is clear that it can be dangerous to create crossings at sites with low pedestrian use.

“However, we will continue to review safety at this location and we have cut back vegetation on the Chester Moor roundabout to improve visibility for both drivers and pedestrians.”