REMEDIAL work on a castle’s crumbling walls will begin next week ahead of a public exhibition outlining the longer term options for the historic site.

Part of Barnard Castle's walls collapsed in 2009 and the problem came to the fore again last year when more stones fell and concerns were raised about its preservation and public safety.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition demanding action to protect and make safe the walls and urging Durham County Council, English Heritage and Raby Estates to take responsibility.

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Last June the three parties agreed to work together to resolve the issues and to keep the public and Barnard Castle Town Council informed.

They commissioned a specialist survey to investigate the exact condition of the walls and to find the best solution to rectify the current structural problems.

The survey, which had a budget of £50,000, covered the area from the County Bridge along to the properties behind Bridgegate where there was a land slip.

The study, by Structural and Civil Consultants Ltd, has been completed and the full findings will be shared with interested parties and the public later this month.

An exhibition outlining the results and recommendations will be held at The Witham, in Barnard Castle, on Wednesday, June 25, from 3pm to 7pm.

In the short term the county council, English Heritage and Raby Estates have agreed that remedial work to relieve the pressure on the medieval remains would be beneficial.

It follows earlier improvements to fencing and a bund to protect the public using the paths and road below.

A long reach digger will be used to remove material from the top of the wall and drag it back to a safe area and walls on the sides of the land slip site will be reduced.

A county council spokesperson said that the work will be carried out next week (from June 16) and inconvenience to the public will be kept to a minimum.

Given the historic importance of the Grade I listed building, English Heritage approval was required and there will be archaeological supervision of the work.