Chance To Apply For Free Cycle Parking Stands

Chance To Apply For Free Cycle Parking Stands

Businesses and voluntary sector groups in County Durham can apply for free cycle parking stands and hangars after a new deal was agreed.

It comes after Durham County Council and community and business cycle parking scheme ParkThatBike signed a three-year contract to provide the stands for suitable locations.

Shops, offices, cafés, pubs, churches, dental practices and surgeries can also apply for the stands, with various designs available.

The new contract includes a new offer of bike hangars for six workplaces to apply for, allowing secure storage for longer-stay cycle parking. Workplaces who apply will be required to carry out additional measures to encourage and support anyone travelling to work by cycle.

Good quality cycle parking reduces the likelihood of bikes being stolen or damaged and is a great way to support the increase in people cycling for travel and exercise purposes.

It is hoped that the stands will also help businesses in County Durham as they recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The successful initiative between the council and ParkThatBike has been running for six years, with over 500 stands installed across the county. The scheme is usually over subscribed and the waiting list from last year is still being cleared.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Cycling is a healthy way to travel and exercise and we expect to see many businesses and other organisations applying to have a stand installed, improving local communities and the environment in the process.

“By providing more free parking stands we are hopefully encouraging more people to cycle regularly as well.”

The bike stands are free of charge, but the applicant is responsible for installing them on their own property in an approved location.

Those in County Durham looking to apply for a free cycle parking stands should go to and select “County Durham” from the drop down menu.

For further information about cycling, including advice on safety and security, go to


Prestigious Environment Awards Go Virtual

Prestigious Environment Awards Go Virtual

Organisers of an annual awards ceremony had to think on their feet to be able to celebrate environmental guardianship and community spirit during the coronavirus pandemic.

County Durham Environment Awards, now in its 31st year, usually gathers its green-minded finalists together for an official ceremony to award the winning entrants for their outstanding conservation work.

However, the event could not go ahead safely in 2020 due to social distancing guidelines and the coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than cancel the awards, which are run by Durham County Council on behalf of the County Durham Environment and Climate Change Partnership and paid for by sponsorship, the team decided to take the ceremony virtual and a celebration video was filmed in November when restrictions were eased.

Last Friday, 19 February, the video was made live on the council’s YouTube channel and entrants and partners were invited to watch the special event from home as the winners were announced.

The winning and highly commended entries for each category included:

  • Climate change, Hawthorn Parish Council
  • Community Partnership, Castle Chare, Free Meals for the Community, Witton Park
  • Craftsmanship, St Hellen’s Church
  • Greener Business, Raggy Robin Sewing Room
  • Natural Environment, Dalton Moor Farm
  • Places and Spaces, West Auckland in Bloom (category winner), Cow Plantation, Friends of Kepier Woods
  • Schools and Colleges, DENE, Oakley Park Stanley, The Oaks Coastal Challenge
  • Volunteer Group, Burnopfield Gardening Team (category winner), Friends of Pelaw Woods, Green Horizons, West Auckland in Bloom

Judges also praised the number of entrants who had showed real community spirit in the face of the pandemic and looked after the vulnerable during the first national lockdown.

Jim said: “I don’t need to explain why this year is very different to the usual awards. There’s no venue, there’s no stage, there’s no speeches. But that doesn’t mean the quality of the applications is any different and that there’s not much to celebrate across County Durham.

“What’s really apparent from this year’s entries is the really strong community spirit across the county. We’ve had organisations doing their bit to tackle climate change, we’ve had individuals working across their local environment, and I think this year we felt, all of us more than ever, entries highlighted how important our environment is.

“We’ve placed a real value on our environment and that really has come across. We really must say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to apply this year.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Each year we receive entrants from individuals, groups, and businesses who do outstanding work for their community, but this year our entrants went above and beyond to continue their efforts in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. We are delighted that the awards were able to go ahead virtually so that these actions did not go unrecognised.

“This last year has shown us just how important the natural environment is to our wellbeing and, as we work towards our pledge as a council to tackle climate change and reduce emissions across the county, I would like to thank all of our entrants for their hard work in preserving and creating sustainable environments within their local communities.”

The County Durham Environment Awards celebrate community groups, individuals, businesses, and other organisations from across the county that go the extra mile to improve their local environment in a sustainable way.

Trophies are being posted to the winners directly from the production company to limit the amount of contact they will have with people.

The virtual ceremony is available for all to watch online via the council’s YouTube channel at

More information on the awards can be found at


Dog Fouling

Dog fouling spoils the environment, upsets local residents and can cause serious health risks, particularly to children.

It is an offence, under a Public Space Protection Order, if you do not clean up your dog’s waste and individuals can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Members of the public can report issues and concerns about dog fouling using one of the following methods:

Telephone – 03000 26 0000

Email –

Online –

Concerns regarding dog fouling can also be reported anonymously, by using the link below


Tree Planting Scheme Nears Completion

Tree Planting Scheme Nears Completion

Work toPhoto contains 2 council workers planting trees in an open space plant thousands of new trees across green spaces in County Durham is set to be completed in the next few weeks.

Durham County Council will finish a significant tree planting programme as part of the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

Almost £500,000 was awarded to the council last year after the authority successfully applied for the grant. Money from the fund goes towards planting trees in towns and cities to help improve wellbeing, connect people with the outdoors, absorb noise and play a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

Areas where tree cover is currently low have been identified for the planting of the trees. Once the programme of work is finished over 1,000 large trees and almost 20,000 smaller trees will have been planted across 70 locations.

Since the year 2000, Durham County Council has planted nearly one million trees on over 500 hectares of land, as well as planting or restoring nearly 200 miles of hedgerow. There are also plans to establish 60 hectares of woodland in partnership with the Durham Woodland Revival programme and the Woodland Trust over the next couple of years.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to plant areas where tree cover is low and when complete, it will see 1,200 large trees and almost 20,000 smaller trees at 70 different locations throughout the county.

“The funding will be vital in improving the appearance of green spaces across County Durham, especially important at a time when people are depending on having these areas to get outdoors and exercise in during the current coronavirus pandemic.”

The planting builds on work the council has already carried out as part of its climate emergency.

The council has pledged to:

  • Reduce carbon emissions from Durham County Council’s operations by 80 per cent from 2008/09 levels by 2030, making significant progress towards making Durham County Council and County Durham as a whole carbon neutral
  • Investigate what further actions are necessary to make County Durham Carbon Neutral by 2050 and pledge to achieve this.

Steve Bhowmick, Durham County Council’s strategic manager, environment and design, said: “Our staff are excited to be able to complete the delivery of this programme and I’m sure that once completed all areas involved will look even better.

“As a council we are committed to improving nature in County Durham while also playing our part in the fight against climate change and the planting of these trees demonstrates that.”


Demolition Work Starts On Former Shopping Centre Site

Demolition Work Starts On Former Shopping Centre Site

Current picture of Festival walk. It includes the 2 empty shops that were previously occupied by More store and PeacocksImage of how the new aldi store will look. It is the view from Oxford road and includes the new look store and car park.

Work to demolish an outdated former shopping centre so that the area can be redeveloped begins this week.

The first phase of demolition at Festival Walk in Spennymoor will see the town’s former Kwik Save supermarket razed to the ground to make way for a new, free to use town centre car park.

The plans, which include a £600,000 investment from Durham County Council, are part of ongoing regeneration work across the county. It is hoped that town centre transformation will help attract more shoppers and businesses to County Durham.

The council is committed to spending on local regeneration proposals in main centres and smaller towns and villages as part of overall aims to enhance the fabric of town centres, but also go beyond this to enhance village and suburban local centres – the heart of local communities.

As well as the demolition of the Kwik Save store, a large part of the existing site will be demolished to create a new larger ALDI store, replacing Spennymoor’s current ALDI store, which the supermarket has said it has outgrown. The current ALDI store will be re-let.

Hellens Group is leading the regeneration of Festival Walk and has appointed MGL Demolition to carry out the demolition work on the site. Hellens is then constructing a new public car park and will also refurbish the remaining units to provide a more up to date retail space.

In addition to investing in the new car park meanwhile, the council plans work at the town’s Market Place, which sits in front of Festival Walk, to ensure it is as appealing and welcoming to visitors as possible and provides a positive first impression of the area.

Councillor Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “It is fantastic to see work to redevelop this important area gathering apace. This scheme forms part of an ongoing programme to redevelop Spennymoor; regenerating the town and bringing in more businesses and shoppers to give the local economy a real boost.”

Mark Davison, Managing Director of MGL Demolition, said: “We are delighted to be working with Hellens Group on this key regeneration project. As a local company we fully recognise its importance in supporting Durham County Council’s wider and ongoing regeneration work across the county.”

Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive of North East-based developer Hellens Group, said: “We have been pleased to work alongside Durham County Council in leading the regeneration of Festival Walk for some time. The start of demolition work moves us one step closer to delivering significant improvements which can be enjoyed by all residents of Spennymoor and the wider community.

“Once completed the shopping and visitor experience will be greatly enhanced, providing many benefits to residents in the area and to the local economy.”

It is expected that the new look Festival Walk will be ready to welcome shoppers, businesses and visitors by early 2022.


Know Your Town App

Know Your Town App

Your all in one bespoke local website and national app. Individually tailored to bring you local info, offers, events and attractions. You can do the following things with this app:

  • Find unique offers and discounts
  • Search your local business directory
  • Find out what’s on in your area
  • Lifestyle content and local news
  • Search things to do near you
  • Navigate to other towns via the app

You can out more by visiting the website Spennymoor Know Your Town

Or you can find the app in the app store or google play.


Former Councillor, Mr Geoff O’Hehir

Former Councillor, Mr Geoff O’Hehir

Picture of Mr Geoff O’Hehir, Former councillor and mayor

It is with great sadness that Spennymoor Town Council announce the passing of former Councillor and Town Mayor Mr  Geoff O’Hehir.  The Town Flag will fly at half mast as a sign of respect, with condolences to his wife, family and friends.


Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

Following recent outbreaks of avian influenza throughout the UK, you can find further advice by clicking on the following link:

Government Advice – Avian Influenza

Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 – please select option 7).