An eight-week project to tackle housing and environmental issues in Chester-le-Street is now underway.

The scheme, led by Durham County Council’s Community Action Team (CAT), will focus on an area near the town’s train station and Front Street.

As part of the programme, council staff will work with partner agencies including County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service and Durham Constabulary to identify and address concerns raised by the community.

Residents are encouraged to come along to two drop-in sessions at Chester-le-Street Library on Station Road, where they can share their concerns about the area and speak about the project.

The engagement events will take place between 10am and 12pm on Friday, 27 October and between 3pm and 5pm on Tuesday, 31 October, following which priorities for improvement will be agreed.

Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection at Durham County Council, said: “Chester-le-Street is the team’s 25th project and we are urging people to come forward and let us know what our priorities should be.

“Residents’ views are at the heart of all of our work and we know addressing some of these problems will have a real impact on the lives of people in the community.”

The CAT was set up in 2012 and has since worked in 24 locations across the county, most recently carrying out work in Dawdon over the summer.

Residents had identified rubbish dumped in gardens and streets as a main priority, as well as dog fouling and the need to improve housing standards.

Over 100 issues were logged and addressed including drainage defects, empty homes and risks to public health. Six long and 13 short term empty properties were brought back into use during the project.

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