HUNDREDS of people have indicated their support for planned changes to the way traffic is managed in the market town of Northallerton.

Residential and business addresses within a five mile radius of Northallerton - a total of 9,000 properties - were sent leaflets and questionnaires in the summer about the proposed traffic management strategy.

An exhibition of the various options was also staged in the town earlier this month, with county council staff on hand to explain the various proposals to residents.

The closing date for responses for the public consultation exercise was last Friday, by which time more than 1,800 questionnaires had been returned to County Hall. North Yorkshire County Council's director of environmental services Mike Moore said: "This represents a 20 per cent response rate which is very good for a consultation of this nature."

He said that the response to the various options had been generally supportive but added: "Given the high number of forms we received back we will need at least three to four weeks to fully analyse and assess the results."

The county council has been working with a number of local organisations to develop a major plan for managing all aspects of traffic in and around the town over the next five years. It is one of a series of strategies being drawn up for market towns in North Yorkshire.

Options include improvements at key junctions in the town centre to ease traffic flow and to improve road safety.

Also included are enhancements for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.

At least £100,000 has been put aside for the first phase of the scheme identified in the strategy, which is expected to be agreed in December.

And projects that can be started during the current financial year include upgrading various bus stops, dropped kerbs and tactile paving on key pedestrian routes and signing improvements. Construction of an upgraded crossing on East Road has already begun.