FED-UP residents could stage a protest against a local authority's refusal to create a footpath between two villages.

Parish councillors in Neasham fear that somebody could be struck by a vehicle while walking along the road between the village and neighbouring Hurworth, near Darlington.

They are angry at the borough council's insistence that creating such a path is not one of its top priorities.

The matter came under the spotlight once again at the latest Neasham Parish Council meeting, when Councillor Mike Townend said he would make sure the issue was not forgotten.

"It gets worse every summer because it is becoming very popular with walkers on the Teesdale Way," he said.

"Somebody is going to get killed there before long, but the borough council just can't see that there is a problem.

"We have warned them for years, so when somebody is killed, who will stand up in the borough council and say 'It's my fault'?"

"I will never give in on this. No one is going to be able to say you just rolled over and gave in to the borough council."

He said some form of protest on National Walk to School Day - involving walkers, cyclists, horse riders and elderly people who use motorised scooters - could take place.

Councillor John Weighell insisted the issue was not being swept under the carpet, but said there was little the parish council could do.

"The borough council just do not want to know," he said. "About £140,000 a year goes out of this village in council tax and we get back £930, plus the bins emptied and the roads swept."

A borough council spokesman confirmed yesterday that a path between the two communities was not high on the council's agenda.

"It is a question of priorities. Where we have got requests for road works of some sort, we need to look at things like the number of pedestrians who use that stretch of road, the volume of traffic and whether or not it's an accident blackspot," he said.