An initiative is being launched to ‘spruce up’ front streets and town centres across County Durham.

Durham County Council has launched Operation Spruce Up, a 14 month pilot programme to give areas a thorough tidy up with rejuvenated landscaping, signs or benches.

Teams from across the council’s highway services, street cleansing, grounds maintenance and other departments will be combining and coordinating their activities to provide maximum impact in the selected areas. Residents, businesses, parish councils and schools will be adding their support too, helping to foster a strong sense of local pride.

The initiative will see one community in each of the council’s 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) having the spruce up. If successful the programme could be rolled out to many more communities across the county in years to come.

Operation Spruce Up’s first destination is centred around the area between St Andrew’s Lane and the A688/B6288 roundabout at Spennymoor. Work there will involve Spennymoor AAP, Spennymoor Town Council, local schools and other community groups. County councillors for both the Tudhoe and Spennymoor divisions are supporting the landscaping in the scheme through their neighbourhood initiative budgets.

It will include:

 A thorough cleanse of all road channels, gullies and weeding where required.

 A thorough cleanse and de-grease of pavements and removal of any graffiti.

 Sweeping by hand areas which machinery cannot reach.

 A full cleanse of street signs.

 Painting of street columns, railings and bollards, with over 300 in the area to be covered.

 The replacement of old shrub beds where required, mulching those to be retained, and clearing them of litter.

 Repair and paint or replacement of bins, bollards and benches.

 Prune/lift trees in particular those that overhang roads or impair drivers’ vision.

The initiative will also involve local communities such as schools and shops in promoting environmental responsibility and participating in activities that might range from litter picking to replanting shrub beds.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “We are excited to be launching this new campaign and believe it will make a real difference to our towns and villages over the next 14 months.

“The appearance of our front streets and centres is so important in terms of the environment, strengthening people’s pride in where they live and also attracting business.

“By having each Area Action Partnership involved, we will be ensuring that not only is the impact of the work felt countywide, but through them we can also engage with partners, combining resources and pooling our efforts.”

Oliver Sherratt, the council’s head of direct services, said: “Whilst our maintenance standards are amongst the best in the country, we do recognise the benefits of a thorough tidy up and refresh from time to time. This exciting initiative allows us to do this work, not in isolation, but with the local community by our side, ensuring what we deliver meets their needs.”

To find out more about the campaign, visit or search #SpruceUp or #LoveDurham on social media.

To find out more about the work of the council’s civic pride team, visit or email