Residents say they fear for their safety on County Durham roads after urgent pleas for reduced speed limits and traffic measures were ignored. 

People living in the city of Durham and nearby villages Croxdale and Shincliffe have shared their shocking experiences of living near popular traffic routes beset by safety issues. 

In Croxdale, a village on the A167 between Durham and Spennymoor, resident Peter Kerrison says he’s constantly worried about young mothers taking their children to school along dangerous roads. He’s calling for the speed limit to be reduced from 40mph to 30mph as it leaves the A167 and travels through the village.

Mr Kerrison continued: “There’s no school in Croxdale, it’s in Tudhoe, so people have to walk along a 5ft path in a 40mph zone. There’s no verge and there’s HGVs and double decker buses passing within 2ft of your shoulders. The vehicles make it a very scary experience and if that area was 30mph it would help a lot. It would also regularise the speed limit along the whole road.”

The local campaign is currently on display for all drivers passing through the area, thanks to the emotive ‘Make Croxdale 30mph’ banner displayed at the entrance. Yet despite the repeated pleas, his calls have been ignored. He added: “Why are lives more valuable in Tudhoe than ours?”

The Northern Echo: Recent incidents including crashes and lorries mounting pavements have been captured by locals Recent incidents including crashes and lorries mounting pavements have been captured by locals (Image: The Northern Echo)

'Absolutely ridiculous'

Shincliffe residents have seen their walls taken out, lampposts knocked over and crossing paths obliterated, but such incidents have been described as ‘invisible’ as they aren’t always reported. 

Chairman of the local parish council, Michael Banks says residents also want the speed limit reduced to 30mph. He added: “We have had 12 incidents in six years including two fatalities, many serious crashes and then some are not even recorded, so it’s an even bigger picture.” Every pedestrian refuge island in the road has now been hit by a car or an HGV, locals say, but their calls for improvements have lacked progress. 

“Council says the current 40mph is appropriate and credible and they say it feels like a 40mph road - but that’s just absolutely ridiculous,” cllr Banks added. 

“The two fatalities were people walking and then getting hit by vehicles. We put a memorial bench where one of the fatalities was and that was then wiped out by another crash. If there’s another fatality there’s a wealth of evidence that will embarrass people and will show that changes are needed.”

'It's really inadequate'

Ian Simmons Thomas, a resident on Lowes Barn Bank, Durham highlighted how HGVs and increased traffic on the road have contributed to the local concerns. The small residential C Road links the A167 and Langley Moor and is said to more popular for HGV traffic than almost every B road in the county. Residents have asked for a weight limit and traffic calming as HGVs have to use the pavement to pass each other but have not seen any progress. 

“It’s not nimbyism - I did choose to live on a bus road and I accept that - it’s a safety issue for cyclists and pedestrians,” he said. “It’s narrow, twisty, residential and steep with awkward junctions and it’s just not fit for 400 lorries a day.

“I have got a lot of issues with how the council have responded and how they react. We have fought quite hard and it’s really inadequate how they are choosing to deal with road safety.”

Increased traffic is also having an adverse impact on the condition of the roads and footpaths, local parish councillor Susan Walker said. “There’s been no fatalities or serious injuries but I have picked up at least two cyclists, and no one reports those to the police. Whenever I go litter picking I find bits of cars. 

“Footpaths are not maintained properly and there are potholes that my feet can fit in.”

Yet despite the concerns from three different groups of residents, Durham County Council said the current measures are sufficient. Highways bosses say each safety request has been investigated but are not able to support them. 

'Council ignoring the risks'


City of Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy added: “Given the effort it took to get the council to pay attention to the Rainton Gate junction following three fatalities in seven months, these three areas represent a real danger to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists and the council are simply ignoring the risks.”

Dave Lewin, strategic traffic manager, said: “We take road safety very seriously and receive lots of road safety-related suggestions and requests from residents.

“We consider every one very carefully on its own merits, combining speed and accident data with other factors such as on-site assessments and the views of the police and other partners.

"Ultimately, we apply local and national policies to each request and while some are progressing, it isn’t possible to agree to every request we receive.

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“We have received each of these three separate requests in recent months and we have fully investigated each of them before responding with the rationale explaining why we don’t feel we are able to support them.

“The reasons for not supporting the request to impose a weight limit at Lowes Barn Bank include the impact of diverting specific classes of vehicles onto other routes in the wider area, and the fact that the issues reported largely relate to driver behaviour and judgement rather than speed limits or weight restrictions.

“We carried out speed limit reviews in respect of the Shincliffe and Croxdale requests but neither met the criteria for the limits to be changed.”