A PARISH council is to be reduced in size after a lack of willing volunteers put its viability at risk.

Greencroft Parish Council, near Stanley, will be reduced in size from 11 councillors to eight, after Durham County Council rubberstamped the move yesterday.

Only five people stood for election in May last year and the parish has experienced difficulties filling vacant seats.

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As a result, the council struggles to be ‘quorate’, have the necessary number of people present to take decisions, at its meetings, putting the authority’s future in doubt.

Last July, the parish asked the county to be reduced in size.

A consultation was held and all bodies who responded supported the change, with no-one making any objection.

The change was agreed by a full council meeting at County Hall.

Councillor Ossie Johnson, who said he regularly attended Greencroft Parish Council as an observer, said the authority had concerns about its future sustainability but he was confident its current membership reflected the interests of the community.

He proposed the reduction in size, a motion seconded by council leader Simon Henig.

The change will take effect from the parish council elections of 2017.