NEW parking restrictions are set to be introduced in a County Durham village to improve school safety following requests by teachers and parents.

Durham County Council regularly reviews traffic rules in a bid to tackle historic and emerging issues on its road network.

On Thursday, September 12, the council’s Highways Committee shifted its sights to Shotley Bridge near Consett.

The planned changes include putting ‘school keep clear’ markings outside Shotley Bridge Infants School, following requests from the headteacher, parents, staff and local councillors.

The changes were put forward in an attempt to reduce obstructive parking on Benfieldside Road and to improve road safety during school drop-off and pick-up times.

New ‘keep clear’ markings will come into force between 8am-9am and 3pm-4pm, Monday to Friday.

In practice, they will work in conjunction with existing restrictions on the opposite side of the road which run between Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm.

During consultation, one objection was lodged by a neighbour living near the school.

While agreeing with the safety aspects of the plan, the objector asked if the restrictions could operate during term time only.

However, strategic traffic manager for the council, Dave Wafer, said school keep clear markings were a permanent order.

As a result, there was no legal mechanism to introduce a parking restrictions at certain times of the year.

“A part-time restriction is not one that’s open to us, we think its it’s all or nothing,” he told the meeting.

Cllr Derek Hicks, who represents the Consett South division, also welcomed the move to improve road safety but said more could be done.

“What we’re planning to do is for the better,” he said.

“It’s a busy road and main bus route and I have been there quite a few times and sometimes it’s a headache trying to get past.

“I have had words with some of the residents who live there and actually the whole of Benfieldside Road – from the school right along to the Highgate pub – should be looked at as well.

“It’s a nightmare getting along that road altogether.”

According to a report considered by councillors, there have been several "near misses" on the busy road, which is also on a bus route and has another school, is

Extra restrictions will also be put in place on Church Bank, in the narrow section of road leading from Benfieldside Road to Burnmill Bank/Green Road.

The proposals, which include double yellow lines on both sides of the road, were backed by Durham Constabulary and sparked no objections.

The final decision on both changes rests with the corporate director before the orders come into force.