PEOPLE living and working in a County Durham conservation area are being urged to take advantage of a grant scheme to carry out repairs to their property.

The grants are available as part of the Cockfield Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme, which helps fund repair and restoration work on important architectural features in the Teesdale village.

The three-year scheme, launched in April 2001, is funded by English Heritage, Durham County Council and Teesdale District Council. It concentrates on stone properties in Front Street, Prospect Square and West End Terrace, in Cockfield's conservation area.

Structural repairs including repairs to stonework and roofing, can attract a grant of 40 per cent, while work on traditional features, such as windows, doors and joinery, can gain a grant of 80 per cent of the cost.

Commercial building restoration such as repairs to architectural features and shopfronts are eligible for a 70 per cent grant.

Nicola Duckworth, of Durham County Council, said: "A number of properties have already benefited from the grant scheme, but there is still money available to be distributed before the end of the financial year.

"Anyone thinking of doing repairs and reinstatement work to eligible buildings needs to act because if the money is not allocated, it can't be carried over to next year and will be lost to the town."

To apply for a grant call 0191-383 4104 or Teesdale District Council planning section on (01833) 690000.