ALLOTMENT holders will be offered a compensation and transfer package as they make way for the construction of homes.

The plots in Scott Street, Shildon, are in the middle of a building site for 100 semi-detached and detached properties.

The area has also been designated part of a £2m regeneration scheme.

But many of the tenants on the allotments have been on the site for 20 years or more and had at first refused to move from their gardens.

Now Shildon Town Council, which is responsible for the site, is negotiating a deal with Sedgefield Borough Council that could see the tenants move to nearby Craddock Terrace Allotments - also know as Furness Pit.

Shildon's town clerk Tom Toward said he hopes that details of the move could be settled in the next few weeks.

He said: "There has been a lack of suitable housing above band A in Shildon for many years.

"We had to make sure that the borough council would meet all the necessary compensation claims for relocation. I met the council and the allotment holders six or seven weeks ago and we have now reached an understanding with Sedgefield Borough Council and the allotment holders which would release Scott Street for housing."

A spokesman for Sedgefield Borough Council said: "We are looking at this at the moment and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will be able to write to Shildon Town Council with the basis of an offer.''

Mr Toward said part of the agreement will involve extra work being done to improve the Craddock Terrace Allotments.

He said: "The borough council will be putting in new fencing and pathways and there will also be a car park."

It is hoped that if everything goes according to plan, a move will be made in September this year.

Mr Toward added: "That would be an ideal time for everyone, because it is the end of the planting season and it will be right for the pigeon fanciers, who will have to be moved first."