RESIDENTS fear they will be isolated when the only road through their village is shut for a fortnight.

Vehicular access to Middridge, between Shildon and Newton Aycliffe, will be blocked on the west side between Monday, September 23 and Sunday, October 6.

This is to allow a new roundabout to be built on the Middridge Road and Greenfield Way junction, to serve a new housing estate, along with gas main works.

The Northern Echo:

But villagers claim they were not properly consulted and some only found out a notice appeared on the bus stop saying the service would be suspended during those two weeks.

Middridge Parish Council has contacted highways authority Durham County Council and builders for information and to express members' concerns but chairman Harold Howe described the situation as 'frustrating and irritating'.

Mr Howe said many older villagers rely on public transport and delivery services which will be affected by the closure.

Royal Mail has temporarily blocked the village post box and bosses at The Bay Horse pub fear it will lose business due to the disruption.

The Northern Echo:

Durham County Councillor John Clare said: “This will turn Middridge into a backwater, without even bus service or post, for a fortnight. It is very disappointing that the developer has not listened to people’s appeals to find a way to organise the development in such a way as to keep a single lane open.”

Developer Keepmoat Homes said: “We would like to apologise to the residents of Middridge for the closure of the road leading to Newton Aycliffe, while a new roundabout is installed that will significantly improve traffic management at the junction. We have liaised with the council and local partners to ensure this major piece of highways infrastructure is installed as swiftly as possible in order to minimise the disruption caused and that all affected parties were given plenty of notice before this work and the closure.”

Residents fear the problems will resurface when roads are altered for another housing site in the near future.