PLANNING permission has been sought to transform an area of green space into a community garden in an effort to crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

A meeting was held at Silverdale House in Newton Aycliffe last February to discuss ideas on how to improve the town.

It was part of a plan which hoped to encourage young people to take part in positive activities and steer clear of crime.

The meeting was part of a time limited project involving multiple agencies in the town.

During the event, the community brought forward ideas about having birdhouses, chickens and flower bulbs on the plot of land outside Silverdale House.

Officers at Newton Aycliffe Neighbourhood Police Team have since applied for planning permission from Durham County Council to transform the land into a community garden.

Proposals include a potting shed, a double entrance gate and a fence securing the garden.

The plans follow a crackdown by police on youth anti-social behaviour in the town.

In a Facebook post to the people of Newton Aycliffe, Sergeant Andy Boyd said: "We have many responsibilities in the community from attending domestics to dealing with harassment, from investigating crime to managing low and medium risk sex offenders, and then trying to problem solve around all these issues to reduce the likelihood of them causing further harm in our community.

"As you will have read, anti-social behaviour has increased over the last few months and we are determined to reduce it. Over the last few days, six of our top offenders have been issued with acceptable behaviour contracts. These contracts prohibit youths from acting in certain ways, and from entering certain areas. If these contracts are breached, then we proceed up the escalation scale to court applying for criminal behaviour orders. Anti-social behaviour will never go away altogether, but with community assistance in supplying the evidence we need, we can make a big dent and make Newton Aycliffe a more enjoyable place to live."