A REVITALISED community spirit could help to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in a Darlington neighbourhood, according to those behind a new initiative.

People living in Branksome are being urged to join a new residents’ association, launched in light of complaints from those concerned about problems in the area.

Councillors and the town’s MP Jenny Chapman have been contacted by residents frustrated with issues relating to illegal quad-biking, fly-tipping, drugs, anti-social behaviour and other criminal activity.

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In response to the concerns, a meeting was held recently with councillors, concerned residents and Ms Chapman, the outcome of which was to establish a new residents' association in a bid to bring people together.

Labour councillor Jan Cossins, who has represented the ward since 2010, said: “Local councillors are working with Jenny Chapman and the police to try and get issues dealt with.

"We need the community to come together for everyone to have their say and to set the priorities to get matters sorted.”

She said the relaunched residents’ association could play an important part in helping to resolve concerns and in boosting community spirit.

Cllr Cossins said: “I’m not trying to paint Branksome in a bad light because every area has its problems.

“However, anti-social behaviour and criminal activity are driving some residents away from the area - some people have told me that they’re considering moving.

“It’s a lovely community and people in the area are salt of the earth who try to get on with their lives but there is a small element causing problems.

“I'm despairing of it, residents are despairing of it and it’s awful to think about what children are seeing - it could become a cycle with them later repeating the same behaviour.”

The first meeting of the residents’ association will be held on Thursday, January 18 from 7pm at Branksome Hall on Whitby Way.

Cllr Cossins said: “We’re hoping to get people involved and build up community spirit again.

"We've been dropping off leaflets around the area and I would like to encourage as many people as possible to come along.

“Maybe we can put on events and try to raise funds to get activities organised for young people as there’s not a lot for them to do around here.

"The youth clubs have gone by the wayside and perhaps not all young people will want to engage with organised activities but some definitely will.