PLANS to build a new link road beside what is believed to be the world's oldest railway booking office have provoked anger.

The road, which will link Ingleby Barwick to Stockton, will run past the original booking office of the Stockton and Darlington Railway and be built on part of the track bed.

It was at this booking office, in Bridge Road, Stockton, that the first passenger ticket was issued in 1825.

Founder of the A1 Locomotive Trust, Mike Wilson, from Stockton, said that he would like to see better promotion of the area to residents and visitors, with special significance placed on the railway heritage.

He said: "If the land that the building is situated on could have been developed, why was it never made into a museum?

"There is 178 years of history there and nothing to show for it, apart from two plaques which are really insignificant.

"With a bit more forethought, the area could have been properly promoted to encourage people to visit the town. The booking office could have been developed and there could even have been a small piece of track with a steam engine on it, outside the building."

The booking office is currently used as a hostel for single homeless people.

A council spokesman said: "The route of the railway line and former goods sidings between Bowesfield Junction and Bridge Road have been earmarked for the new link road since the 1970s.

"Although the original booking office is not a council-owned site, Stockton Borough Council is fully aware of the significance of the area and has been working in partnership with Tees Archaeology to ensure the new road does not detract from the historic environment."