DARLINGTON'S new cycling policy must ensure the town does not become overrun with "chavs on bikes", according to a councillor.

Councillor Nick Wallis said the situation must not become like Middlesbrough, where a ban was in place, but was repeatedly flaunted by "chavs".

Speaking at the meeting of Darlington Borough Council cabinet on Tuesday night, Coun Wallis, cabinet member for health and leisure, said: "I work in Middlesbrough, where there is a ban, but you still see all the chavs on bikes in the town centre."

Coun Wallis' comments came amid a debate on cycling in Darlington's pedestrianised town centre.

The cabinet decided that cyclists will be allowed to remain in the town centre until November.

Cabinet member Councillor David Lyonette said a further assessment of the situation was needed before a permanent decision is made.

He added: "We need to take into account the summer months."

The proposal to extend the trial period was supported.

Heather Scott, leader of the Conservative group, said: "We support the extension, but we would like to see a code of conduct implemented.

"It would give cyclists something to adhere to."

But any permanent policy would be met with fierce opposition from Darlington Association on Disability, which in a letter to the council, said: "Our visually-impaired members tell us that as well as actual danger, there is a natural perception of danger that is preventing or limiting access to the pedestrian heart.

"With this in mind, and with the views of our other members with numerous impairments, Darlington Association on Disability is totally against allowing cyclists within the pedestrian heart."

The consultation has so far had a mixed response from businesses in the town centre.

In letters to the council, business owners said that while some shoppers used cycling as a method of transport, there were concerns that youths were endangering public safety by cycling too fast in the pedestrianised area.

The scheme was strongly supported by Darlington Cycling Campaign and Cycling England.

Traffic management officers have issued seven tickets since July, two for having no lights and five for cycling on the footway.