A COUNCILLOR has assured people that a town's revamp will not include the demolition of council houses.

Widespread rumours of plans for demolition of buildings in Brotton, east Cleveland, could have a negative effect on the findings of a survey, say officials.

Residents are to be asked to list what they want to see done as part of a consultants' study to provide a blueprint for an improved environment.

The plan covers the 385 homes in the Park and Brickyard areas, where there are a small number of empty properties, and the shops in Skelton Road and the High Street.

Councillor Brian Hogg, the lead member for the environment and infrastructure at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: "There have been people spreading negative rumours about the consultation, saying it is all about demolition and nothing else. But that is not the case.

"We have to wait for the recommendations of the final report before talking about the level of any demolition.

"It is about bringing empty properties back into use and finding out what the residents feel is required.

"The survey is about regeneration and providing modern homes. It is also about finding a positive way forward.

"These rumours could be damaging if the consultants are not able to get proper results. People who are worried about their homes are not going to talk.''

He added: "The whole idea is about enhancing the environment of the Brickyard and the Park and the High Street.

"We have some empty properties on the Brickyard, but this is about fetching them back into use. It is not people's homes we are talking about, but empty property.''

He said that suggested ideas for improvements include building a play area, better street-lighting and removing shrub boxes to provide extra parking.

He said: "Once somebody starts putting round rumours, they start to spiral. But this is about improving the environment. Demolition is always a last resort, but no one would be losing their home."

Once the research, which will include surveys of the condition of houses, is complete, the report will be used to help the council develop a strategy for the area.

Coun Hogg said: "My message to people is take part in the survey, say what you would like to see."