A ROAD safety campaigner has called for a 20mph zone to be launched near two Darlington schools.

Cleveland Terrace resident Victoria Dow issued an appeal to members of Darlington Borough Council to impose a new speed restriction on the street between Carmel Road and Coniscliffe Road.

Speaking at a full meeting of the authority, Ms Dow said she was raising pedestrian safety concerns following four years of fruitless emails to the council’s highways department.

She said Cleveland Terrace was of particular concern due to having the Abbey Primary School at one end and St Augustine’s in close proximity on Beechwood Avenue at the other end.

Ms Dow told members: “Frequent HGV deliveries to convenience stores at both ends of Cleveland Terrace present an additional hazard for families, especially at busy school times.”

She added while the presence of speed bumps had been raised as a reason why a 20mph zone would not be created, there were exceptions to that rule close to Cleveland Terrace on Northumberland Street and Coniscliffe Road.

Councillor Nick Wallis, the authority’s portfolio holder for leisure and environment, said the council had for some years supported the creation of 20mph limit zones, especially where new estates were built, around schools after a risk assessment or where there had been a history of accidents.

He told Ms Dow: “Very regrettably, owing to severe Government cuts around four years ago that programme of rolling out further 20mph zones ceased. All the little money the local authority has left we plough into highway maintenance, so potholes and road resurfacing and the like.

“That doesn’t mean to say you don’t have a very good point and I know members represented here will have areas in their wards where they and their residents believe a 20mph limit would be appropriate.”

Cllr Wallis said it was rare that a 20mph zone would be limited to a single road, rather than encompassing several street. He said: “At the moment there isn’t the finances for it, but we are near the end of this term of the local authority and I suspect it will something for the next authority will need to look at again. Certainly 20mph zones have worked elsewhere somewhat. They do somewhat slow down some roads. They have also been shown to improve health, with more people walking and cycling.

“They are not a panacea, accidents can still happen in 20mph zones. If this is a matter the local authority in the future returns to certainly Cleveland Terrace area will be considered.”