FAQs

(last update Monday 15 June)

How can I report issues of non-compliance with the current closures and restrictions?

If you are aware of issues relating to the closure of premises then you should contact the Council's environmental health team on [email protected] or 01325 405111

If the issue relates to social gatherings or groups of people behaving in a way they shouldn’t then you should contact the police.

Will there be a freeze on Council Tax or a discount?

While Council Tax continues to be due and will need to be paid, we do appreciate that your financial situation may be uncertain over the next few months.

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for Council Tax support which may reduce the amount of Council Tax you are required to pay.You can find more information here.

Leisure services

Will I still be charged for monthly gym memberships while the Dolphin Centre is closed?

We have frozen membership payments until further notice. Check the website for updateswww.healthydarlington.co.uk

What about prepaid swimming lessons?

Payments are on hold and you can restart your 10-week block when we reopen.

Can I use Eastbourne running track?

No, Eastbourne Sports Complex is closed.

What happens with bookings that have been arranged at the Dolphin Centre, such as birthday parties?

All refunds have automatically been generated for any bookings that have been cancelled at the Dolphin Centre.

What about the staff at venues that are closed eg Dolphin Centre, Head of Steam, Hippodrome – are they being given other work to do?

Staff from closed venues are helping provide essential services elsewhere in the Council.

Transport

What bus services are running and when are bus passes valid?

Arriva North East services and coronavirus updates can be found on Arriva's website [external link]. Bus passes can be used after 9.30am, as normal.

Are car parks free?

Council run car parks are free until further notice. There has been some changes to on-street parking to help with social distancing in the town centre. Please follow signs in the town.

Library

Will I be charged for overdue books?

No, there will be no charges for overdue books.

What should I do with my library books?

Keep them in a safe place at home and return them once the libraries reopen.

There is information about the interim library delivery services for older library users (over 60s) and how to access online services on the public alerts page.

Register office

What’s the advice regarding weddings at the registry office at the town hall over next few months? Will they still be able to go ahead?

If you have a wedding booked with us you should have had a phone call from us to discuss your options. If not please get in touch with us.

Can I give notice of a marriage/civil partnership?

Yes. Although we can't hold marriage or civil partnership ceremonies yet you can give notice. More information on our register office webpage.

Street Scene

Will the bins still be emptied?

Yes, there are no changes to refuse and recycling collections which will continue as normal. Garden waste collections are also taking place.

Is the tip open?

Yes. We have introduced a new booking system. More details on the tip  and recycling centre webpage.

Is commercial waste still being collected as normal?

Yes

How do I report a flytip and will it be collected?

Please report flytips as usual using our online form. We will work to clear fly tips on public land.

People

Are Lifeline services for older/vulnerable people still running as normal?

The Lifeline emergency response service is still running as normal.

As schools are still closed for some pupils, is there any provision for those who have free school meals?

Yes, all children that are entitled will continue to access free school meals throughout including school holidays.

Parents of eligible children should contact the school for a £15 weekly supermarket voucher per eligible child. Find advice on applying for free school meals if you think your child may now be eligible.

Are there any local voluntary services doing shopping for vulnerable people, who may not be able to do their own shopping or get a delivery (which are fully booked)?

There are a number of local voluntary sector services supporting vulnerable people who are unable to do their shopping or to get a delivery. These are all outlined in the Livingwell Darlington directory.

Housing

Will there be any freeze on rents for council tenants?

No, rent for council tenants is should still be paid. However, if your income has been affected by Coronavirus and you are concerned about paying your rent, please contact the income team at [email protected] and we’ll try to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

We will not take possession proceedings or evict anyone as a result of the impact of Coronavirus.

If your income has not been affected, we urge you to continue making your regular payments as this will prevent you getting into debt.

If your employment has been affected and you need to make a claim for Universal Credit, please visit the gov.uk website [external link] to see what you may be entitled to.

I am a council tenant, what if I need to book a repair?

We are now carrying out repairs as normal. We are starting with those repairs reported to us during the full lockdown and those that had booked appointments before the restrictions came into place. Any standard plumbing, bricklaying, gas or electric repairs will be booked from June 22 onwards. Any plastering or joinery repairs will be booked from 28 June. All emergency and urgent jobs will continue to be carried out as normal.

More information on the public alerts page.

Who do I contact if I am homeless or at risk of being homeless?

Contact the council on 01325 405333 during office hours (8:30am to 5pm), or 01642 260346 outside of office hours.

Democracy

What about council meetings?

Following the cancellation of a number of meetings, it has been agreed that council meetings will recommence from 25 June, with the annual meeting of the council, which will then be followed by a programme of meetings for our scrutiny committees, the general licensing committee and the planning applications committee. More information can be found on the council's democratic page.

Can I still contact my Councillor?

You can still contact your Councillor by telephone or email – more details here.

Can I still submit a planning application?

Yes, a planning application can still be submitted and will be validated. There is likely however to be some delay in the validation and approval process.