Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Footpath plan approved despite residents' crime fears
APPROVAL has been given for a new footpath linking Darlington College and the Teesside University campus with Bank Top station – despite fears it could increase anti-social behaviour in the area.
Darlington Council’s planning applications committee met this afternoon (Wednesday, January 16) and voted in favour of the proposal to build a path from Peel Street leading across scrubland to the rear of the university campus.
It would cut the walking time from the station to the campus from 30minutes to 10minutes, but nearby residents objected to the scheme saying that the area was already rife with drug takers and underage drinkers.
William Park of Graham Court said on a recent walk round the area the new path would cut through, he found 11 discarded hypodermic needles and three bongs (a drug smoking tool).
Speaking on behalf of the residents of Graham Court, Peel Street and Rocket Street, Mr Park said: “We feel that there are a number of existing problems that this pathway would make worse.
“There is already a problem with anti-social behaviour, including the dealing and taking of drugs in the car park adjacent to Peel Street and the wooded area next to Graham Court.
“Motorbikes and quad bikes are also a problem and if a three metre pathway is put there we are sure that the attraction will be even greater.”
Andy Casey of Darlington Council’s highways and network management said that measures would be taken to address these concerns, such as installing street lights along the route and creating chicanes to deter motorcycle and quad bike riders.
He said: “Street lighting does tend to draw away some of these issues, particularly drug use because that seems to take place in dark corners.”
He said that stopping motorcyclists and quad bikers using the route was more difficult because it has to be accessible to everyone including cyclists and mobility scooter users, but the chicanes would slow motorcyclists down to a walking pace, giving police a better chance of catching them.
Councillors approved the application but asked for a condition that, where practicable, foliage should be cut back several metres from either side of the path to make it safer for students using it in the dark.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Park said he was “livid” about the decision.