MORE than a hundred campaigners came together to fight the construction of a council's new headquarters after two car parks were fenced off.

Durham City residents attended a protest at The Sands which saw them 'peacefully' campaign following the closure of The Sands car park and adjoining coach park.

The areas were fenced off at the start of last week to allow work to take place ahead of construction work on Durham County Council's new civic building.

Janet George, secretary of St Nicholas Community Forum, which organised the protest, said: "We were pleased with the amount of people who came out and showed how important the area was to them.

"The situation is frustrating as the decision was made following a combination of bad planning and not consulting the people who live in the area.

"The decision makers who have made the plans are mostly people living outside the area and not accountable for Durham City."

Proposals for the new £5m headquarters have been met by critics who have been trying to halt the build.

The Sands car park has been closed for two years to allow the construction of the new headquarters which has angered Durham city residents.

Campaigners at the protest fought for their 'right to roam' and challenged cordoning off the car parks, which are registered as common land.

Lorraine O’Donnell, Durham County Council’s director of transformation and partnerships, said: “Fencing has been put up at the site in the interests of health and safety while we carry out enabling works ahead of the construction of our new headquarters.

“We are currently following a process to deregister part of the land which has been used as a coach park since the 1990s.

“The removal of trees was part of the agreed planning permission and is being carried out in accordance with an ecological assessment.

“Part of the construction involves retaining a number of protected specimens and planned re-planting.”