ONE of the North-East's leading businessmen has claimed that roadworks caused by a major development is affecting his company.

Work on the section of road between Portrack Lane and Church Road, in Stockton, part of the £300m North Shore development, has been ongoing since January and is expected to continue until July.

But companies along Portrack Lane say the disruption is hitting their business, with car company Simon Bailes Peugeot the latest to protest.

The car dealership, which has been in the region for more than 25 years, has been cut off from the rest of Church Road.

Simon Bailes, who owns the dealers, said: "This is a very important development and we know it will bring massive benefits to us in the long-term.

"However, despite working very closely with the development corporation and contractors to minimise disruption on site, it is having a much bigger impact than we anticipated on our business."

In February, Michael Fields, who runs Portrack Interiors, said he had been forced to postpone advertising indefinitely and predicted the delays would force some firms out of business.

But Sarah Robson, North Shore project manager at Tees Valley Regeneration, said the work was important for the area.

She said: "The current roadworks will create a road system which will secure the future of Stockton town centre. Once completed, it will ensure the smooth running of the current traffic levels and also be capable of handling the increased levels expected to be created by the North Shore development.

"The North Shore project is progressing well, with the team currently assessing the expressions of interest from a number of renowned property developers. An announcement is expected shortly on a shortlist of developers."