A COUNCIL set to oversee the development of a 4,500-home garden village is facing calls to rule out creating entrances to it through long established residential areas amid fears they will become overwhelmed with traffic.

Residents from the Skerningham, Whinfield and Barmpton areas of north Darlington said they had been alarmed since learning in January that officers were considering the creation of access routes to the government-backed Skerningham Garden Village which would mean thousands of extra cars negotiating narrow lanes and tight bends.

Following a decision to abandon plans to build a link road through Springfield Park, suggested routes included one over Green Lane onto Whinfield Park; another onto Sparrowhall Drive, and a new road through green space between Galloway and Caithness Way onto Whinbush Way.

However, a Darlington Borough Council study found without the Springfield Park link road, about 6,000 more vehicles a day would travel along the residential Barmpton Lane.

Resident Terry Binks, who has 15 years’ experience as a driving instructor, said some of the suggested routes were too narrow for two cars to pass and featured sharp bends, so it was clear they were unsuitable for thousands of extra cars daily.

He said: “Quite often we see near misses. To me, the suggested access points are not alternatives. It simply would not be safe for people living here.”

Another resident, Alan McNab, said the roads were already so congested it was difficult to leave the Whinfield estate at rush hour and any further traffic from the garden village would be “totally unacceptable”.

Councillor Lynn Paley, a Labour councillor in Harrowgate Hill, said: “How anyone can think that the likes of Beauly Drive and Whitebridge Drive are suitable for this scale of traffic is beyond me. The council’s cabinet needs to change course.”

A full meeting of the council next week will consider a motion to bar link roads being created on the A167 between Salters Lane North to the west and the River Skerne to the east, and another to protect Springfield Park.

However, it is understood council planners are already be examining the possibility of creating access to the garden village from other areas, such as through a former quarry, or by improving a bridge over the River Skerne.

Councillor Alan Marshall, the authority’s economy cabinet member, said the draft Local Plan did not feature any potential access routes and the council would be unable to do any studies of suitable access sites until detailed planning applications had been lodged, the findings of which would be shared with the public in a consultation.

When asked about residential roads being used as access points, he added: “We would like to think we can get an access somewhere else. We certainly will not put people at risk.”