A VILLAGE'S newest residents have taken to the streets to tackle the issue of speeding motorists.

People living in Middlestone Village, between Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor, have become increasingly concerned about drivers travelling too fast through their community.

Parents are worried about children playing on the village green close to the road and dog walkers, horse riders and pedestrians have reported near miss experiences with speeding vehicles and careless motorists.

Residents formed a road safety group, led by Erin Langdale, to try to find solutions to the problem.

She said: “The B6287 road through Middlestone Village is 30mph however it is a rare to see vehicles slowing down to this speed.

"We have children in the village who have no choice but to cross the road as it is directly outside their front door.

"We want to do all we can to slow down traffic in our village before an accident happens.

" I would love to be able to slow the traffic down in the village and make it a safer place for everyone.”

The Northern Echo:

One of the group's first initiatives has been to buy a family of mannequins which were dressed by local children to look as realistic as possible.

They now stand in the village, hoping to make drivers aware that children play in the area and force them to slow down.

The idea was inspired by a similar initiative in Hunwick, which has a mannequin dressed as a police officer with a speed gun.

Kimberley Barrass, from Hunwick, said: “The policeman really does make a difference, the amount of cars I have followed coming into Hunwick from Bishop Auckland that slow down when they see him is unreal.

"I personally got knocked over ironically outside of where the policeman stands on October 31, 1994 when I was 11.

"I have two children myself, aged 11 and 9, and that was one of the reasons I originally put him up at the start of the six weeks holidays in 2018 and have continued to do so over the school holidays ever since.”

Middlestone residents also held a poster competition which includes one pleaded with drivers ‘Don’t Hurtle – Be a Turtle’.

They have set up a Facebook and WhatsApp group to share ideas and lobbied Durham County Councillor Charlie Kay and Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate Joy Allen for support.

Cllr Allen said: "I first met Erin and the residents back in September and I was really struck by their determination to make a difference and drive change.

"The most inspiring part was their willingness as a village to do whatever they could themselves to raise awareness of speed and encourage motorists to drive more slowly through the village.

"What they have achieved in such a short space of time is amazing and illustrates how communities can address local problems by working in partnership with council and the police.

"This is not something that can be solved overnight but I am certain that the residents of Middlestone Village will not rest until they get motorists entering their village to slow down."

Cllr Kay said: “The proactive attitude and determination of the villagers is admirable and they deserve to be supported.

"I will be working with the Councils Highway’s Engineers to identify and implement measures to reduce speeding and make Middlestone a safer place to live.”

Road safety charity Brake is this week running Road Safety Week to raise awareness of the issue, including the message that speed contributes to one in five fatal crashes.