HUNDREDS of people have given their views on Darlington's controversial Pedestrian Heart to a town centre trader who has spoken out against the scheme.

Beryl Hankin, who runs Guru Boutique, has collected several hundred comments from shoppers after taking the unorthodox move of asking people to give her their views.

The 63-year-old, who was born and bred in Darlington and has traded in the town for 35 years, has taken the move because she feels so strongly about the scheme.

But Darlington Borough Council says it has received positive comments about the scheme and will meet Ms Hankin.

One person told Ms Hankin: "It's characterless, featureless, boring, and has spoilt some of Darlington's finest features, including the steps along High row. It's not individual, it's sort of had a lobotomy."

Another said: "I think it is terrible and certainly not suitable for anybody other than young healthy people who have no children and no disabilities."

Another said: "I think this was a waste of space that no one wanted in the first place. The pavements are lethal."

A council spokeswoman said the scheme was not yet complete and more handrails were to be added to steps and ramps and the new steps were safer than the old ones. She said that the designers had been chosen because of their outstanding track record.