Durham County Council

Election 2017 Results

Party Seats 2013 Seats 2017 Change


Seats 201394 Seats 201774 Change−20


Seats 201319 Seats 201728 Change+9

PartyLiberal Democrat

Seats 20139 Seats 201714 Change+5


Seats 20134 Seats 201710 Change+6
Change compared with

Latest Updates

  1. Adoption services link up across north of England

    Children in need of adoption should have a better deal under a new partnership announced today between Cumbria County Council, Durham County Council and Together for Children, which delivers children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council.

    Cumbria County Council sign

    The three authorities have set up what is known as a "regional adoption agency", and the aim is to have a larger pool of potential adopters so children can be placed more quickly with a suitable family.

    County councillor Anne Burns, Cumbria's cabinet member for people, said: "This is all about ensuring that children have the best chance of being matched with the right adoptive family."

  2. 'Star gazing' holiday homes approved

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Plans for new holiday accommodation with "stargazing" facilities in County Durham have been approved by Durham County Council.

    Earlier this year, plans were lodged to redevelop part of Dene House Farm in the Satley area, near Tow Law, which included demolishing a dutch barn building to the rear of the site and converting a range of agricultural buildings into holiday lets.

    Dene House Farm

    New roof windows would be installed as part of the scheme, with applicants also intending to use the site and buildings for stargazing events during the winter.

    The council's planners said the development would benefit the rural economy with no “detrimental impacts” on ecology, highway safety or the farm business.

    County Durham’s tourism management agency Visit Durham backed the plans, noting that visitor accommodation supply in the county is not meeting market demand.

    The planning report added that Durham has some of the darkest skies in the UK with Visit Durham “investing a great deal of time and effort in positioning Durham as a dark skies destination”.

  3. Postal ballots plea for rescheduled elections

    James Harrison

    Local Democracy Reporter

    People should begin registering for postal ballots to ensure they can take part in next year’s elections, North East council leaders have said.

    Local authorities were due to head to the polls in May, but saw planned contests cancelled due to the first national coronavirus lockdown.

    Despite hopes a vaccine may be ready in time for rescheduled elections next year, the prospect of living with some form of restrictions have prompted regional chiefs to urge households to start planning now.

    Speaking via videolink at a meeting of the combined authority's leadership board, of which he is also chairman, Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "We should be encouraging as many residents as possible to register for a postal vote.

    "That will help reduce the risk of transmission and the risk of people being disenfranchised as a result of the pandemic.”

    Polling station in Tynemouth

    As well as rescheduled local authority elections in Sunderland and South Tyneside, a planned poll for Durham County Council is due to go ahead, as well as contests for the Police and Crime Commissioners for Durham and Northumbria and a new Tees Valley Mayor.

    Applications for postal votes can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission website and returned to the relevant local authority.

  4. Building development work hours extension approved

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Chris Binding

    Plans to extend working hours at a major development site in Durham City have been given the go ahead, despite concerns from neighbours.

    Work on the retail and leisure complex at Milburngate has been continuing throughout lockdown.

    Tolent had applied to the county council to boost the working hours to between 07:00 and 20:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 18:00 on Saturdays - and increase of 30%.

    The company said existing Covid-19 safety measures meant the site could not operate at full capacity, and pledged to limit noisy activity during the extended hours.

    Milburngate development

    A consultation resulted in 11 letters of complaint, and concerns were also raised about noise and increase in traffic.

    However, while admitting the proposals were "finely balanced", planning officers said the “likely degree of the increase in impact” did not meet the test needed to warrant a recommendation to refuse.

    Following debate, the extended hours were approved by a majority vote of 9-3.

  5. Eight libraries to reopen

    A further eight libraries across County Durham are due to reopen.

    Durham County Council has already reopened 29 of its libraries since lockdown restrictions were introduced in March.

    From Monday, Annfield Plain, Ferryhill, Willington, Horden, Pelton, Sacriston, Shotton and South Moor will also reopen.

    Woman in library

    Tracie Smith, Durham County Council’s Cabinet support member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “It is fantastic to see more of our libraries reopening across County Durham.

    "From Monday, 37 out of 39 libraries will have opened their doors to welcome back our customers and I’d like to thank our staff for their hard work in making this happen.

    “Things may continue to look a little different because of measures in place to ensure customers can return to libraries safely, and some services are still not on offer. However, we are working hard to reintroduce as many well-loved features as we can as soon as possible.”

    The only libraries not due to reopen are the community libraries at Esh Winning and Coundon because they are housed in a primary school and medical practice.

  6. North East at 'critical point' in virus fight

    North-east England is at "another critical point" in its coronavirus fight, council leaders have warned.

    The heads of seven local authorities said while the area's case numbers were plateauing, it was clear the situation remained "concerning".

    The North East is subject to tier two restrictions with leaders in Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead and County Durham council areas saying they would resist tier three measures.

    Aerial view of Durham

    In a statement issued following their latest meeting, the councils covering County Durham to Northumberland said action taken over the past six weeks had helped the area remain in tier two but infection levels were "still too high".

    The leaders said there were "serious concerns" the situation could deteriorate over the winter months and called for residents to "redouble" their efforts to reduce social contact.

    They said they would continue to push the government for more business support, local test and trace control and greater enforcement powers.

  7. North East council leaders 'discuss tier move'

    Daniel Holland

    Local Democracy Reporter

    North East council chiefs are set to meet later to to discuss a potential move to tier three lockdown measures, amid concerns about the region's latest numbers.

    It is understood that the talks are being held between council leaders in Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, plus those from the Tees Valley.

    However, the government is not involved, with a proposed meeting with local government secretary Robert Jenrick which was expected to be held last Monday still yet to be arranged.

    Earlier this week the leaders from the seven councils in the north of the region said they would “resist any attempt” to impose tier three measures, but Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes is now saying it was important to “keep all options on the table”.

    People on Quayside wearing masks

    He said: “We are looking at the numbers of cases on a daily basis and continue to be very concerned about the numbers not reducing as fast as we would like.

    “It is therefore important to keep all options on the table and, at this crucial stage of battling the virus, we cannot afford any complacency.”

  8. Council issues Covid-19 scam warnings

    People have been warned to be on their guard following a rise in hoax calls relating to Covid-19.

    Durham County Council says people should beware when callers ask for card details over the telephone, and not assume that all calls are genuine.

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  9. North East leaders warned of tier three possibility

    Herbert Soden

    Local Democracy Reporter

    North East leaders have been warned of fresh discussions over a potential move into tier three, following a late night summons from Government.

    It is understood that leaders in the region were told by central Government that a meeting will shortly be called to discuss tier three - very high alert restrictions, and the potential move from tier two - high alert

    The email, which was sent at around 22:00 BST on Thursday, stated that ministers were keen for this meeting to happen as soon as possible. It comes as Greater Manchester’s tier three restrictions come into force and has left leaders in the region unsure of what any further meeting could entail.

    Last week the region was allowed to remain in tier two but leaders were told they had seven days to show existing measures were working. Leaders were due to report back to government this morning but it is not thought that this is the meeting the late night demand was referring to.

  10. Council leaders ask residents to 'keep doing their bit'

    The leaders of seven North East councils are asking residents to "keep doing your bit" to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    In an open letter, the council leaders also said they were "disappointed" about the imposition of tier three on Greater Manchester "without agreed economic support" and urged "the government to engage with us and look at the local evidence before forcing us down the same path".

    "Once again, the collective efforts of the North East have seen indications that the rate of Covid infections is slowing down," the council leaders said.

    "We know it is difficult not to be able to physically see and hold loved ones, to enjoy a night out with friends at the theatre or down the pub but by not mixing households and following the rules you are making a difference.

    "It has only been possible to slow the virus because the overwhelming majority continue to do their bit.

    It is imperative we don’t let our guard slip or lure ourselves into a false sense of security just "because we are seeing a slowly improving picture. To do so would undo all your hard work."

    The letter was signed by

    • Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council
    • Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council
    • Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council
    • Norma Redfearn, mayor of North Tyneside Council
    • Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council
    • Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council
    • Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council
    • Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor
    • Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner
  11. Government official meeting with leaders cancelled 'at short notice'

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Herbert Soden

    A meeting between North East leaders and a senior Government official has been called off "at the last minute", according to one council chief.

    The leaders of Northumberland, Newcastle, South and North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham signed a joint statement urging the Government to not impose “devastating” coronavirus restrictions.

    It pointed to “evidence of a flattening of the curve” and said “there is a collective view –we can make alert level 2 work.”

    After this, they were invited to a presentation from Jonathan Van-Tam, Government’s deputy chief medical officer on Thursday evening only for it to be called off.

    Martin Gannon Gateshead Council leader, said: “I got an email saying ‘sorry it’s cancelled’ with two minutes notice.

    “I got another email later saying something was wrong with the data, and they don’t want to waste time. “

    He added: "Our data is clear, we have got a case.”

  12. Council leaders send joint message to government

    Herbert Soden

    Local Democracy Reporter

    The leaders of seven North East councils are due to make their case against more coronavirus restrictions today.

    They are expected to speak to ministers - after signing a joint letter urging existing measures be given more time.

    The leaders of Northumberland, Newcastle, South and North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham councils, along with the Mayor of North Tyne, say moving the region up in to highest category for restrictions would be “devastating.”

    The joint letter said there was “evidence of a flattening of the curve ...there is a collective view – we can make alert level 2 work.”

    They urged the Government to give the current restrictions more time and warned that the economic consequences will be “devastating without further support”.

    There was a warning that paying two-thirds of salaries would not be enough to protect the jobs of thousands” and payments to employees of businesses forced to close should at least match the 80% of the original furlough scheme.

    Find out what the rules are where you live.

  13. Gateshead council leader's over-60s tier theory

    The local coronavirus infection rate among over-60s could be what the government is using to decide whether to impose the strictest lockdown restrictions on any given area, Gateshead Council's leader has said.

    North East local authorities in Northumberland, Newcastle, South and North Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham said they would oppose any attempt to move them into Tier 3.

    The current set of measures were working and needed more time, Martin Gannon said.

    "There's a bit of confusion about what the government is looking at - we think it is based on the number of cases in over-60s," he said.

    "It would be helpful if they would clarify that."

    Martin Gannon

    Mr Gannon said the support package proposed for the 100,000 people employed directly and indirectly in the region's hospitality sector would be "catastrophically disastrous".