BATTLE lines are being drawn over a council's controversial bid to alter its town boundaries.

Proposals put forward by Barnard Castle Town Council could see it take over vast swathes of neighbouring Marwood – putting the rural parish's future in doubt.

Town councillors say the existing boundaries do not reflect how Barnard Castle has grown and should be altered to reflect the urban area.

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Under the current arrangements, GlaxoSmithKline, the Harmire Enterprise Park and Barnard Castle Golf Club are in Marwood, along with 100 homes currently being built off Darlington Road.

Peter Stubbs, chairman of Marwood Parish Council, described the town council's proposals as a “crazy idea.”

Mr Stubbs said: “If they get away with this, it will probably mean the end of Marwood parish.

“We will oppose it and fight it tooth and nail. Marwood parish has always been well run. Parish councillors have always done their best to look after people.

“We have never had any complaints about Marwood not being effectively run.”

One effect of the proposals would be to annex a farm in the south of Marwood, which Barnard Castle Town Council says should transfer to Whorlton and Westwick parish.

However, Joe and Margaret Pounder, whose family has farmed at Mount Eff for three generations, say they would prefer to stay in Marwood.

“We are quite happy in Marwood. Why are they wanting to change the boundaries? Nobody has been in touch with us about changing and it seems that we have no say,” said Mr Pounder.

His wife added: “If we have to change, I would rather go with Whorlton and Westwick than Barnard Castle. We are out in the country – we don't class ourselves as townies.”

Durham County Council, which will decide whether any boundary changes are made, has begun a consultation process on the proposals which continues until May 9.

Barnard Castle Town Council clerk Michael King said: “The town council recognises its position is one-sided because it has called for a community governance review which will provide for all the residents and the affected parish councils to express their opinions.

“This is a proper way to decide if the current boundaries are fit for purpose. It is the county council which will judge the best outcome.”

Anyone requiring further details on the boundary consultation should email democraticservices@durham.gov.uk