FOOTPATHS and walls on a housing estate have been left to become dangerous and unsightly after years of disrepair, say residents and councillors.

But the rundown communal areas of Henknowle, in Bishop Auckland, finally look set to be fixed following talks between council and housing association bosses.

Durham County Councillors for Woodhouse Close Cathy Hunt and Joanne Howey learnt of the problem on the former council estate, where rented properties are managed by believe housing, whilst campaigning ahead of May’s local elections.

Cllr Howey said: “As soon as we saw it we said, elected or not, we would fight for this.

“Residents said they'd complained for at least three years, all the time the problem got worse and more expensive to fix.

“Wobbly steps, holes in paths and crumbling walls – we heard one lady fell and broke her ribs on a path and my son just touched a wall and brick fell out.

“Parts of the estate have become a dangerous eyesore.

"Some of the gardens round there are so beautiful, people just want to be proud of the area.”


From left, councillors Cathy Hunt and Joanne Howey on the Henknowle Estate in Bishop Auckland. Photograph: Stuart Boulton.

From left, councillors Cathy Hunt and Joanne Howey on the Henknowle Estate in Bishop Auckland. Photograph: Stuart Boulton.


Cllr Howey, who works for the town’s MP Dehenna Davison, also raised it with the MP who backed the calls from action.

Following site meetings and discussions, it is understood the council and believe have reached an agreement over responsibility for the work and are planning a series of repairs, particularly around Dorset Place.

Paul Anderson, the council’s highway inspection and maintenance manager, said: “We have attended a series of meetings including site visits with representatives from believe housing and local county councillors and, as a result, agreement has been reached over ownership of, and responsibility for, various areas on the estate.

“We are pleased to be able to confirm that we are now drawing up designs and establishing costs for work which will include replacing steps and a communal area on Dorset Place with landscaping this financial year.

"We have also agreed to include some of the footpaths on the estate in our maintenance programme for 2022/23.”

Director of neighbourhoods and customer experience at believe housing, Ian Porter, said: “We’ve been in regular discussion with residents of Henknowle estate, elected members and county council officers on this issue. We’ve worked closely with Durham County Council around ownership and responsibility for the areas residents have raised concerns about and have been actively looking for solutions to resolve them.

“Just like everyone else, we’re pleased that a way forward is in place and are looking forward to seeing this resolved as quickly as possible.”


A crumbling wall in Dorset Place

A crumbling wall in Dorset Place

Paths and steps are uneven in many places

Paths and steps are uneven in many places



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