RESIDENTS and traders are supporting plans to resolve traffic congestion in Malton and Norton.

North Yorkshire County Council's Ryedale area committee was told by Stewart Hurst, the senior highways engineer, that the priority was to complete the junction between the A64 and Scarborough Road, Norton.

The report is a major step towards a traffic management strategy for the towns.

A total of 7,700 leaflets and questionnaires were delivered throughout the towns and surrounding parishes asking for opinions.

Mr Hurst said 1,450 people replied and there was "a very positive response" for the majority of the proposals. However because of the high costs, only six projects have been highlighted for early action.

These are putting footpath kerbs at crossings, 40mph limits on some routes, upgrading bus stops, providing secure cycle parking and signed cycle routes, new road signs, and improving the Newbiggin-Pasture Lane junction in Malton. The work is expected to be carried out during the current financial year because £250,000 has already been set aside.

"Even greater benefits will be felt as a result of carrying out combinations of certain of the elements, both in terms of reduced congestion, reduced noise and vibration and improvements in air quality.

"This will be the principle challenge over the next three to four years if we are to succeed in bringing about improvements which are vital to the long-term wellbeing of the two towns," said Mr Hurst.