A PARISH council has agreed to employ an expert to do an otter survey on riverbanks close to the proposed site of a new local authority headquarters.

The City of Durham Parish agreed to the move after its application to apply for a judicial review of Durham County Council's decision to grant planning permission for its new civic building in the city was refused.

The parish council has agreed it will not pursue a renewal application for the judicial review after it was refused by the High Court last week.

The authority has been leading a campaign against the building of a five-storey civic centre at The Sands car park.

The Northern Echo:

Durham County Council wants a smaller, more modern building to replace County Hall, in Aykley Heads, which it plans to demolish to make way for a new business park with the hope of driving job creation in the city.

It granted permission for the scheme in March following an application by Kier Property Developments, which has the contract to build the facility.

Since then, members of the public have raised more than £10,000 to challenge the decision.

The parish council says it agreed to the otter survey because the protected animals have been spotted swimming in the River Wear, close to The Sands.

It is an offence to damage or destroy a breeding or resting place or to obstruct access to them.