COUNCIL bosses last night insisted they were content with radical changes to traffic systems in a North-East town, despite severe criticism.

Bus stops have been moved and routes altered in preparation for the main work on Darlington's £6.5m pedestrian heart project.

The changes came into effect on Monday and were immediately criticised by residents, shoppers and traders.

Priestgate has proved one of the main trouble-spots, and the problems facing buses using the narrow street to gain access to Prebend Row were highlighted this week.

An ambulance stopped outside the King's Head Hotel, causing massive tailbacks along the bus route.

However, the council is adamant that the first few days of the new-look town centre have been a success.

A spokeswoman said such emergency incidents were rare and asked for people to be patient if caught up in them. She also insisted that buses were not speeding along Priestgate and had to stick to a 20mph limit.

"We have spoken to Arriva and Stagecoach and they have spoken to their drivers about being aware of the limit," she said.

"We are aware that some people are experiencing problems, but we are doing all we can to help them."