NEW parking restrictions in a village have been backed by councillors in a bid to improve the high street for both customers and traders.

On Wednesday, Durham County Council reviewed traffic orders in Coxhoe to help support its commercial centre.

This included beefing up restrictions on Church Street to free up space for visitors and stamp out commuter parking.

Strategic traffic manager for the council, Dave Wafer, outlining the proposals at Durham County Hall, described the current situation as a “free for all”.

The measures include a 30-minute short stay bay at the south end of Church Street for both customers and loading vehicles.

Elsewhere on the street, three-hour waiting limits will be put in place– with all restrictions in force between Monday to Saturday, 7am to 6pm.

Dedicated ‘loading only bays’ will be provided alongside the removal of a ‘disabled badge holders only’ bay.

During consultation, the plans sparked controversy with eight objections– including two traders. Concerns included impact on deliveries, parking being displaced and the council failing to consider other options, including more parking spaces or a permit scheme.

At the meeting, traffic bosses said unrestricted parking was available in the area, with disabled badge holders able to park for an unlimited duration in any ‘limited waiting’ bays.

Council officers also confirmed that if motorists abuse the restrictions, targeted enforcement can take place.

Coxhoe division councillor, Stuart Dunn, welcomed the scheme and said it was supported by the majority of traders.

He told the committee there were plans in place to boost the village’s parking offer– with the Co-op exploring the use of land in the village for long-stay parking in future.

He added many traders also use the existing Co-op staff car park through an arrangement with Coxhoe Parish Council.

Cllr Dunn said: “These proposals have been sought by the majority of traders to enable shoppers to shop and stop.

“It is an exceptional front street for a village of our size with an impressive range of stores and we aim to support and retain these.”

He added: “There are real issues trying to access shops on Church Street, particularly for high turnaround stores or ones where goods need to be loaded.

“This is frustrated by traders, their staff or park and riders blocking spaces all day. We regularly have cars and trucks double parked between traffic lights and the zebra crossing.

“Those 30-minute bays next to the traffic lights will allow much easier access, quick shopping, quick loading and away.

“And the three-hour loading restrictions are what the traders requested and they will make trading and shopping much more accessible and safe with minimal impacts.”

Fellow Coxhoe division Councillor Maura McKeon described the move as a “real bonus for the village”.

She said: “We have got an issue in the village, particularly for the traders who run food shops and small boutiques, they’re the ones who have been most affected by the current lack of restrictions.”

Following discussion, the council’s Highways Committee backed the Church Street changes with a unanimous vote but the final decision rests with the council’s corporate director before rules come into force.

Other parking restrictions for Coxhoe will include:

Coronation Terrace– mew ‘restricted waiting’ rules to be extended to Monday to Saturday 7am to 6pm in line with other restrictions in the village.

Roundabout A177 south of Cornforth Lane– double yellow lines to be introduced following a request from local county councillors, residents and the headteacher of Coxhoe Primary School to tackle obstructive parking.

Welfare Terrace– double yellow lines to reduce obstructive parking and improve road safety on the corner and junction of Welfare Terrace and Cornforth Lane.