A TRIAL traffic order which has helped to cut congestion on a busy route into a city centre is to be made permanent.

Experimental restrictions were introduced in June last year to clamp down on nuisance parking and waiting on Gilesgate Bank, which brings the A181 in to and out of Durham.

Cars parking or waiting on either side of the narrow road prevented the free flow of traffic and were particularly obstructive during peak times, when long queues reached up the bank from the Gilesgate roundabout, at the junction with the A690 dual carriageway.

Action was taken following complaints by the emergency services and bus operators.

Under the trial traffic regulation order, a no waiting restriction was put in force, on Monday to Saturday, between 8am and 6pm, applying to either side of the A181, and a loading bay outside a newsagent's premises, half-way up the bank.

The newsagent reported difficulties with deliveries due to parked commuter vehicles outside the premises.

Durham County Council's head of highway management services, Roger Elphick, said feedback from the public had been positive.

He said: Since the introduction of the experimental order problems of commuter traffic parking have been removed, resulting in all traffic having unrestricted flow through the network.

"I have received confirmation in writing from Durham Constabulary reporting that they are satisfied with the experimental restrictions and that they have had a significant impact on reducing the problems experienced.

"The public transport operators have commented that they have benefited greatly from the experimental order."

Mr Elphick said the newsagent has also expressed satisfaction with the restrictions.

"Previously he was unable to service his premises if vehicles parked outside the shop and passing trade could not be attracted.

"He is satisfied that both these concerns have been addressed with the restrictions."

Mr Elphick said a resident has asked for additional parking bays to be added, but this may not be possible because of the narrowness of the footpath adjoining the road.

He said: "We don't really think it's possible, but we have said we will look at what alternatives can be made."

The county council's highways committee agreed to make the experimental order permanent at a meeting on Friday.