A TOWN council is engaged in a power struggle over the electricity supply to a new performance area.

The stage was installed as part of a £400,000 improvement project on the Scar Top area in Barnard Castle and the work included the provision of an electricity supply.

However, since the Durham County Council-led scheme was completed a year ago, the power has never been switched on, much to the frustration of town councillors who have been forced to hire a generator every time events have been organised.

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The town council has now organised its weekend summer events programme, which will run from July 12 to August 25 and members are demanding the electricity supply is turned on.

Councillor Thom Robinson, chairman of the council’s partnership committee, said: “It is a ridiculous situation.

“It’s been a year now and in the meantime this council has been paying for a generator at substantial cost.”

Coun Tony Cooke added: “It seems stupid to have a resource there and not be able to use it.”

Coun Tom Deacon said: “This should be something that is relatively simple to sort out.”

The town council’s summer programme will kick off with brass band music on Saturday July 12 and Sunday, July 13.

Other events will feature animals, buskers and a Medieval re-enactment group. There will also be a First World War commemoration day and a celebration of the great outdoors before the programme concludes with the visit of County Durham’s Streets Festival to Barnard Castle Monday, August 25.

Coun Robinson said if the power situation was not resolved, the town council would be forced to hire a generator to ensure events went ahead as planned.

Sarah Robson, head of economic development and housing at Durham County Council, said: “We accept that it is taking a long time to get the power supply up and running and we apologise for the delay.

“Providing a power supply for use for events which sits in a public space is understandably subject to rigorous regulations and inevitably time must be taken to ensure all these requirements are met and a robust management system is in place so they can be used safely by everyone who needs them.

“We are working to resolve this as quickly as.”