A COUNCIL has apologised after accidentally sending tax bills charging residents living on the outskirts of Durham for a new authority, despite not being part of it.

More than 1,000 people living in Newton Hall were sent electronic council tax bills for the new City of Durham Parish Council, which is due to be created next month.

Local councillors said they had received numerous complaints from residents because of the additional £34.87 (Band D) charge for the new authority, which will not cover Newton Hall.

Cllr Mark Wilkes said: “The council have messed up here. This could have cost a lot of money if all the paper bills had been posted out too.

“We are told this hasn’t happened but ask any residents who do get incorrect paper bills to contact us and the council straight away.”

A total of 1,178 incorrect e-bills were sent out, while 4,782 paper bills were printed, at a cost of £240, but not sent to members of the public. 

Paul Darby, head of finance at Durham County Council, said: “We have been in touch with a small number of people who received incorrect e-bills to advise them of the error and to apologise for any inconvenience.

“The mistake affected a very limited number of accounts that are registered for an e-bill and customers have been assured that no direct debit requests have been issued based on these bills and that new bills will be sent.”

Council tax bills for the coming year, which include a 4.5 per cent increase, are being issued from this week.