A LOCAL authority facing mounting pressure over potential access routes to a Government-backed housing estate has agreed to consider permanently ruling out creating controversial link roads through residential areas and a park.

Darlington Borough Council’s leader Councillor Heather Scott has announced the authority’s Cabinet will examine barring traffic from reaching or leaving the proposed Skerningham Garden Village between the A167 at its junction with the A1150 to the west, and the river Skerne to the east.

The move means the council’s leadership will consider preventing access from the planned huge estate onto Whitebridge Drive, Beauly Drive, Sparrowhall Drive, Whinbush Way and Barmpton Lane, and to maintain Green Lane as it is from Whinfield Road to Glebe Road, as had previously been suggested by planning officers.

Speaking at a full meeting of the authority after hearing residents relate road safety fears and concerns for their quality of life, Cllr Scott also agreed for a Cabinet meeting in January to consider protecting Springfield Park on its current boundaries from any development with a deed of dedication.

The Conservative administration’s decision to approve motions on the controversial issue put forward by opposition councillors surprised a number of councillors.

Leader of the Green Party group, Councillor Matthew Snedker, said many Darlington residents believed the Conservative-run council’s decision to remove a link road through Springfield Park had been made swiftly despite the potential consequences.

He suggested the move to consider barring sites for access routes marked a U-turn by the authority which had previously insisted investigations over access roads would have to wait until detailed proposals for the estate had been submitted.

Cabinet member Councillor Andy Keir said Cllr Snedker’s claim was “absolutely not true”, and any future debate over what had transpired would hear “a totally different story”.