FOLLOWING years of campaigning by residents, new rules are set to be introduced to curb the number of letting boards in a city's conservation area.

People have been trying to get action on the issue since at least 2010 because of the number of To Let boards in Durham, caused by the high number of student properties, which are rented annually, in the city.

Now, after being granted extra powers by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Durham County Council is to introduce a new regulation seven direction in the city, which will mean landlords have to apply for permission to erect the signs.

It replaces a voluntary code, meant to limit each landlord to one sign per street, which has been regularly flouted in recent years.

The regulation will come into force on Thursday, October 17 and will last for five years.

Durham MP Roberta Blackman-Woods, who campaigned on the issue, said: "I have been in regular contact with residents, the council, the Planning Inspectorate and the Government about this issue for many years, as the proliferation of lettings boards has often given the impression that Durham is up for rent, and they are undoubtedly an eyesore in such a beautiful and historic city.

"It is great that all the hard work that many people have put in to ensure that Durham remains an attractive place for people to live, work and visit has finally paid off, and that this will be the last year that residents and visitors will have to deal with such an abundance of To Let boards.”

Stephen Reed, the council’s planning development manager, said: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State has endorsed our proposals to introduce this measure to further improve the city’s environment.

“Members of the public and businesses had raised significant concerns regarding the visual and environmental impact of lettings boards on the historic heart of Durham City. Now these new control powers are going to improve the visual amenity of the area.

“We will be working closely with landlords to ensure the rules are adhered to.”

The maps defining the areas subject to the restrictions are available for inspection at County Hall from 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, and will be available soon on the council’s website at