A DECISION on whether to brick up empty properties in Ferryhill Station has been put on hold.

Representatives from Three Rivers Housing Group this week met residents from a group of streets known collectively as The Rows to discuss the issues surrounding empty houses.

A number of properties on the estate, which are earmarked for demolition, have been subject to acts of vandalism, including arson attacks.

A spokeswoman for the group said: "We called a meeting to consult with residents of The Rows with a proposal to brick up all of our empty properties there.

"These properties have been boarded up anyway, but we have been concerned that kids might get in, fall over and get injured or if there is an arson attack it could spread to other properties.

"There is a real health and safety issue there and we thought we would brick them up.

"It's not fool-proof, but would make it a bit more difficult to get in than just taking some boards out."

Operations director Pete Ottowell and regeneration officer Vicky McCourt discussed the proposals with residents at a well-attended meeting in The Eldon Arms pub.

But a vote at the end of the meeting had 11 residents in favour of bricking up and 11 against.

The spokeswoman said: "We can understand why some of the residents are against bricking up the properties. We will evaluate the situation again and perhaps consult with the residents' group before making a final decision."