The restoration of Shildon’s three decorative arches is set to begin next week.

The scheme to repair and upgrade the three structures follows a consultation exercise at the end of last year, which saw more than 83 per cent of those who took part voting for the arches to be maintained and repaired.

The three metal structures were erected in the town’s Main Street, Church Street and Town Square in 2000 as part of the millennium celebrations. However, their condition has since deteriorated, with flaking paint and rusting metalwork now clearly visible.

As a result, Durham County Council asked residents if they wanted to keep the arches or if they would rather see them removed.  Almost 350 people responded to the consultation questions, with the majority voting for them to remain.

The improvement works, which start on Monday (7 August) and are expected to take eight weeks to complete, will see all three repainted and treated with anti-corrosion paint on-site. The original columns will also be replaced using Dunhouse stone, with each one engraved with the name of the street it stands on.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “The arches are clearly very popular among residents, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of retaining them when we asked them last year.

“We were more than happy to listen to their feedback and are now undertaking work that should preserve the arches for many years to come.

“As well as repairing and protecting the metalwork, we’re also rebuilding the columns with stone, which will improve the visual appearance and enhance the project.”

Residents and motorists are being advised that Main Street and Church Street may be closed on Sunday, 13 August to enable scaffolding to be erected and on Sunday, 20 August to allow the scaffolding to be removed.