MOTORISTS blighted by congestion at a busy junction in Barnard Castle could be offered a lifeline under new parking rules.

Durham County Council regularly reviews its highways network to keep traffic flowing, improve road safety and tackle historic parking issues.

Last Wednesday, September 25 the council’s Highways Committee was asked to consider proposals for Barnard Castle.

Plans included extending double yellow lines at The Sills near the town’s historic bridge.

The changes aimed to reduce obstructive parking and improve road safety following reports of parked vehicles causing disruption at the three-way traffic lights.

In action, new double yellow lines will apply to a section of road on the east side of The Sills, running past Ullathorne Rise.

During consultation, the proposal was backed by Durham police and six letters of support.

However, objections were lodged from residents living along The Sills– with  neighbours claiming they would have to park elsewhere.

At the meeting, traffic bosses said the need for road safety and improved traffic flows outweighed the need for residents to park next to their properties.

Following discussion, councillors unanimously backed the scheme.

Councillor James Rowlandson, for Barnard Castle East, welcomed the move saying the current traffic situation causes “havoc” whenever the A66 is closed.

He said: “That road itself is absolutely choc-a-block and with cars on it nobody moves whatsoever, it’s just gridlocked. The extending of the yellow lines I know will cause inconvenience to people in that area but at times it’s madness to just have cars stopped altogether, the bridge can’t work.”

Other plans approved at the meeting include a limited waiting parking bay of ‘30 minutes and no return in two hours, 9am to 6pm’ on Birch Road. Existing ‘school keep clear markings’ outside St Mary’s Primary School will be updated, while double yellow lines will be put in place at Bridgegate/The Bank. At Market Place, a limited waiting bay will also be changed to a ‘disabled badge holder only’ bay to improve access to the town.

The final decision rests with the council’s corporate director before changes come into force.