Improvements to North Road in Durham City are due to start in October after a consultation with businesses on the high street.

As part of Durham County Council’s £1.84 million investment over the next two years to upgrade the roads and footpaths across the city, the North Road works will improve the look of the area as well as making it easier and safer to use for pedestrians. The timing of the works has been decided by the businesses on the street themselves after a request from the Durham Business Improvement District (BID).

This year major works are taking place on the main route through the city, to install the SCOOT traffic light system and upgrade Gilesgate and Leazes Bowl roundabouts to make journeys easier. In light of this Durham BID approached the council to ask that businesses be consulted on whether they would prefer that the improvements started shortly after the major works were completed or wait until next year.

Following an overwhelming 72 per cent of respondents asking for the work to start as soon as possible, the scheme is now set to get underway in early October.

Adam Deathe, business engagement manager for Durham BID, said: “We’re obviously delighted that the council works hard to improve Durham City with a range of plans to support business, tourism and encourage more people to visit. But with the recent road works we felt it was important that the council made sure the businesses affected had the choice of when it should take place. We’re very pleased at both the consultation taking place and that the businesses agreed that the city needs a more attractive and accessible North Road sooner rather than later.”

Cllr Neil Foster, Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “North Road will now be the first phase of our plans to improve paths and roads across the city, making them easier to access and hopefully making Durham City even more beautiful. It’s impossible to carry out major works without causing some disruption so it’s great to know that the businesses in the area support the plan and are keen for the improvements to be carried out as soon as possible.”

As well as the improvements to the road and pavements, a section of North Road will also be realigned with the junction at Milburngate and the taxi rank and loading bay will be repositioned. The work is expected to take approximately 21 weeks to complete with further details being released in the near future.