PUBLIC art funding that has remained in council coffers for ten years may now be used to brighten up an industrial estate.

Chester-le-Street District Council allocated £6,000 for Drum Industrial Estate and North Lodge in 2008, but the money was never used.

Durham County Council took over the following year, when the smaller authority was abolished, and the money has remained untouched.

Councillor Craig Martin, who represents the area on the county council, has investigated and demanded this money is made available for the community to use.

Now he is looking for suggestions on how to use it.

Cllr Martin said: “I’ll be working with the businesses within the industrial estate, parish council, and residents to get ideas.

“We’ll be calling on everyone to come forward with ideas and offers of support, after all £6,000 doesn’t go very far these days.

“I’m proud I’ve been able to use my position to get money out of Durham County Council’s bank accounts and made available for the public.

“Now it’s all our job to pull a project together and get the money spent.”

Cllr Martin said the money comes from an original pot of £33,000, most of which was absorbed into Chester-le-Street District Council’s budgets for sport, leisure and culture.

He said rules do limit the money can be spent on.

Cllr Martin said: “It must be for public art, in the industrial estate area. “Stipulations put on the funding by the former Chester-le-Street District Council must be followed.”

Stephen Reed, Durham County Council’s planning development manager, said: “We can confirm that there is a sum of money still available from developments on Drum Industrial Estate that were granted planning permission by the former district council.

“We are looking forward to working with the community to agree the details of where this money will be spent.”