ESSENTIAL work to help protect eight homes in a north Durham market town from flooding is due to begin.

Northumbrian Water is investing £900,000 to upgrade the sewer network in Netherton Close, Whitehill Way, Waldridge Lane and Auckland, in Chester-le-Street.

The work, which is being carried out by contractor Seymour Civil Engineering, will begin on Monday January 13 and is expected to take about seven months to complete.

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The company says it will be necessary to have some traffic management in place during the course of the work.

This will include temporary traffic lights on Auckland from Monday, January 20 to Friday, March 21 and on Whitehill Way, between the junctions with Netherton Close and Auckland, from Wednesday, January 22 until Friday, April 11.

Those properties directly affected will be notified about access and parking issues in advance.

Construction traffic will need to access all working areas and a temporary site compound, which will be located between Waldridge Road and Fenton Close.

Brian Ford, Northumbrian Water’s project manager for the scheme, said: “Reducing the risk of flooding is one of our top priorities.

“Although we appreciate there will be some disruption in the short term, we hope customers will welcome the benefits and protection the scheme brings."

Nobody from Northumbrian Water or Seymour Civil Engineering will need access to homes in the area while the work is being carried out.

Anyone who requires further advice or has any special requirements should ring Northumbrian Water on 0845 717 1100 or log on to