Grounds and tree maintenance FAQ

How often are parks and play areas tested for safety?

We carry out visual safety checks at least weekly in all parks to ensure all the equipment is safe to use and hasn’t been vandalised.

Operational inspections are carried out twice a year by us and twice by our insurers (Zurich).

Parks and play areas in Darlington

How often is the grass in Darlington cut, weeds sprayed and plants and flowers maintained?

Grass cutting is carried out across the Borough on an average 25/30 - working-day turnaround (weather dependent) between mid March and early November.

We do not remove grass cuttings after the mowers have been out. These grass cuttings will compost down back into the soil. Grass cuttings that go on the road or paths should be blown back onto the grass - if this is not happening please let us know at

Weed spraying is done across Darlington two or three times a year (dependent on weather).

Shrub maintenance and hedges are cut twice a year; August they are cut to lines and as part of the winter programme a full prune is carried out. 

Continued bad weather can delay cutting and extended dry weather may make cutting unnecessary.

All floral displays in the town centre, on roundabouts, parks, and in planters are planted in June and October.

Do you tidy gardens and houses?

Our garden tidy scheme is available to tenants who are unable to maintain their own gardens. The lists of names and addresses are supplied by housing.

The garden tidy scheme is free and provides basic gardening duties for those eligible, such as pensioners and people in receipt of the higher rate of Disabled Living Allowance (DLA), and who do not have anyone under 60 or able-bodied living with them. 

The service includes cutting of grass (six times a year) and cutting of hedges (twice a year, avoiding February - August due to bird nesting season).

If you think you qualify for the scheme, please contact your management officer on 01325 405333 (Housing).

Street Scene also clears unoccupied council houses on demand as supplied by the Housing Department. These clearances can vary from removing one item (such as a fridge) to a complete house, shed and garden clearance that could take several days.

Can I prune the tree adjacent to my property?

If the tree or trees are within a conservation area or protected by a tree preservation order you must apply to the planning department within the Town Hall and inform the owner of the trees as a courtesy.

If the trees are not protected you are within your rights to remove any overhanging vegetation to your boundary, but you must offer the arising back to the owner.

More information about tree felling and pruning [external link]

Is the tree causing damage to my property?

You should contact your insurer who will be able to answer your questions.

Damage to buildings due to vegetation-linked subsidence is far less frequent than is often commonly believed. However, occasionally difficulties can occur when inadequate foundations are placed on a shrinkable clay soil, adjacent to the roots of vegetation. It is then, usually in periods of extended drought, that effects can be noted of movement in a building’s foundations.

If evidence has been found of structural damage to your property and it is believed that this may be linked to the location of adjacent Council-owned trees or shrubs, it is imperative that all details are forwarded immediately to us. We will then try to investigate these concerns and will take every appropriate action to prevent any further difficulties.

Will the Council fell the tree adjacent to my property?

We have a policy to only remove trees that are dead, diseased, dangerous, or can be proven to be linked to damage caused to buildings. This approach fully addresses our duty of care in accordance with current industry best practice and ensures that all possible investigations are carried out.

Trees are shading my property

Legally you have the right to vertical light but not horizontal light.

I have trees within my property, what are my responsibilities?

The owner of trees have a duty of care to ensure that their trees are safe, and it is recommended that they are regularly inspected by a suitably impartial experienced consultant arboriculturist, and having Professional indemnity insurance. 

A suitably experienced arboriculturist with public liability insurance must carry out any works regarding trees that are protected.

Who owns the trees adjacent to my property?

We do not hold the records of land ownership, but the Land Registry [external link] will be able to help you.