PLANS for a new link road to improve traffic flows have got the green light.

Durham County Council’s area planning committee considered proposals from its own officers for new sections of highway at a meeting last Tuesday.

This included a new road between Renny’s Lane and Damson Way on Dragonville Industrial Estate. When completed, the plans will create a secondary route for traffic using the estate and include demolition of an existing garage and construction of a new retail unit.

To the south, a signalised junction will be built between the A181 Sherburn Road and Damson Way. This includes acoustic fencing close to existing housing and diversion of the road through a section of trees.

Access for vehicles will be maintained for residents of Booths Buildings and Coronation Terrace, with the existing junction sealed-off to create a cul de sac.

During consultation however, Belmont Parish Council called for the signalised junction to be refused. Councillor Barbara Howarth, speaking at the meeting at Durham County Hall, said existing trees and hedgerow form a “natural buffer to noise, vibration and pollution.” As an alternative, she said, the existing junction should be upgraded rather than trees felled to create a new one.

Neighbours raised concerns that the link road and new junction would create a “rat run” and large queues of traffic.

And City of Durham Trust (CDT) raised concerns about the link road diverting a national cycle route onto Damson Way.

Matthew Phillips, of CDT, said current designs breached council plans around sustainable travel and cycling including “substandard” foot ways on the new link road for shared use by pedestrians and cyclists.

He claimed the designs put motorists first at the expense of cycle provision and called for the decisions to be deferred to allow for revised plans.

However, highways officers said they had looked at various options for cycle facilities but the current designs were the best option to allow the “free-flow of traffic.” While queues of up to ten vehicles are expected in 2029 leading up to the new junction, highways bosses said they could be controlled in real time. Environmental officers said the tree belt near the signalised junction offered little to no noise reduction benefits.

Following discussion, the committee passed the plans with a majority vote.