ACTION is to be taken on letting boards in Durham city following years of campaigning by local residents.

Durham County Council has agreed to apply to the Government to introduce a new regulation on letting boards in the city’s conservation zone, which proliferate each autumn as student landlords seek new tenants.

It comes after years of complaints by residents and the failure of a voluntary code, meant to limit landlords to a single board in each street, to curb the problem.

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Ian Thompson, the council’s director of regeneration and local resources, said: “The voluntary code worked for a period of time but last year particularly, but also over the previous two years, it’s not been effective.

“It’s quite clear that there’s a need for a more formal approach.”

Councillor Carl Marshall said: “We’ve tried to deal with this informally and it hasn’t been as successful as we would like.

“We know from speaking to the community it’s an ongoing problem. We need to move this through the process and bring in some regulation on letting boards.”

Last year there were 73 complaints made about breaches to the voluntary code, up from 34 in 2016 and 43 in 2015.

An application will now be made to the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.

If approved, it means that landlords will have to ask for planning permission to put up the boards.

But it may be some time before the regulation, if approved, comes into effect.

In Newcastle, it took 18 months from making the application to introducing the same regulation, which came into effect in January 2015.