Long-standing roadworks which have led to vehicles driving on a pavement are an accident waiting to happen, it was claimed this week.

Traders and residents on Hexham’s Gilesgate spoke out at Monday’s Hexham Town Council meeting about their concerns over the roadworks in place around the old swimming pool.

Hexham Hotels has submitted a planning application to Northumberland County Council to transform the building, which has stood empty for 11 years, into 46 apartments.

However, it has been revealed that the application is being held up by a dispute between the council’s planners and the developers.

The delay was causing grave concerns to locals who had witnessed vehicles driving on the pavement to squeeze past the roadworks, which have reduced a section of the road to one lane.

Resident Trish Hannant, who also owns hairdressing salon Studio 19 on the street, said: “The barriers have been up for six months and not only is it an eyesore, but it is causing chaos for vehicles and pedestrians, especially with the larger vehicles and coaches being diverted away from Hallstile Bank.

“It’s a long way for traffic to see if any vehicles are coming the other way, so traffic is going on the path which is a danger in itself.

“It is causing pandemonium and it is an accident waiting to happen.”

County councillor, Trevor Cessford, said he hoped work could start soon to alleviate concerns.

He said: “It’s an absolute mess.

“Taking the barriers down and then putting them back again when work starts would be silly, but I’m hoping we are getting a lot closer to solving the issues.”

Queensbury Design has been working on the project and has insisted the barriers were in place to prevent health and safety risks, not cause them.

Mike Axtell, the firm’s director of architecture, said: “We want the works to be carried out in the correct manner, so that is why the client and contractor chose to put up the protection.

“If the building had been burnt out any more, then it had the potential to collapse.”

Courant opinion - page 22