A BUSINESS owner is calling for safety on a junction to be improved after a vehicle crashed into the front of his shop.

On Sunday afternoon, October 20, Stan Howes was working in the back of Cybertronic on Station Road, Darlington, when he was disturbed by a loud bang.

But it wasn’t until he decided to investigate that Mr Howes discovered he could not leave his shop, as a car had crashed into his doorway.

The Northern Echo:

“They had to pull the car back out of the shop so I could climb over the rubble and bricks to get out,” Mr Howes said.

“Our gate in the doorway had fallen 45 degrees, it was like a jail.

"Our glass window has cracked and moved in its frame. Our inner door doesn't fit in its frame anymore.

“This is a nearly 200-year-old building and the impact of it has even pushed some of the brickwork back.”

The crash meant Mr Howes has since lost days of trade and is concerned for customers' safety and the structural integrity of the building.

The trader, who has been at the premises for 40 years, is calling for measures which would reduce drivers’ speed when turning onto Station Road from North Road, as he believes it is this junction which is causing people to lose control.

The Northern Echo:

He said: “This is not the first time this has happened.

“We have had more than one incident where cars have come down this road from either direction and crashed into our shop, or have been very close to it.

“People come up Northgate at around 30-plus miles per hour and they’re taking the corner at 30 miles per hour.”

Elaine Mitchell, who works at Cybertronic with Mr Howes, added: “When they come from North Road drivers see this great big wide road and as they get round they suddenly realise it isn’t.

"By that time they’re on top of the island crossing and they swerve this way and head straight for the shop.

“Even a fortnight ago, I was cleaning the path out here and a car came round the corner, smacked the curb of the crossing and was coming straight towards me. I just froze.

“The driver managed to swerve and drove off but a postman came running over and he said: ‘I thought you were a goner.’.”

“There needs to be some kind of change on this road to stop people driving down here too fast. It’s only a matter of time before one of these accidents gets someone killed.”

A spokesperson from Darlington Borough Council said: "We are aware of Mr Howes’ concerns and we would urge all drivers to stick to the speed limit and drive sensibly."

A spokesperson from Durham police said: “Police were called at 2.10pm yesterday, October 20, to a one-vehicle collision in which a Mazda MX-5 had collided with a shop on Station Road, in Darlington.

“Nobody was believed to be seriously injured.”