FURIOUS villagers near York branded a government decision to delay a much-needed bypass as "beyond belief".

The Government has left out Shipton-by-Beningbrough, on the A19, from its Local Transport Plans Settlement for the region, which totals £29 million.

Villagers have campaigned for a bypass for more than ten years, claiming the main thoroughfare is virtually "uncrossable" and an accident blackspot.

With regard to the Shipton bypass, and other schemes not given the go-ahead, the Department of Transport said: "The available appraisal material was not sufficient to allow the Government to form a view on whether they pass the tests that have been established to determine eligibility for government funding.

"The Government will want to look again at the schemes once this work has been completed."

Clerk to the parish council Gil Radford said she was "flabbergasted" by the decision.

"It's inexcusable," she said. "There was a survey done a few years ago which concluded that a bypass in the village was needed. "The situation has not changed and it is inexcusable that the Government has put it off yet again. People are dying on this road - how much more evidence do they need? "It makes me so mad."

Mark Poole, headteacher of village primary school, Forest of Galtres, said he was "very disappointed" with the decision.

"The safety of my pupils is paramount," he said. "Clearly a bypass would be preferable - it's disappointing the Government has decided to reject the proposals.

"A much more pressing issue for us is a school crossing patrol."

Vale of York MP Anne McIntosh said: "I support the villagers in their fight to secure a bypass.

"I share their concern and deplore the Government's decision not to grant them one.

"It's a cracking little village and I think it deserves better."

The parish council is set to raise the issue at its next meeting on Wednesday, at 7.30pm.

Updated: 14:26 Monday, December 17, 2001