FAQs

We'll be updating this page as the Coronavirus situation develops:

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 Environmental Health at Darlington Borough Council 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.

We would encourage everyone to continue to pay their normal monthly payments of Council Tax if they can, or as much as you can over the next two months, at which point the situation will be reviewed.

Darlington Borough Council intends to relax its recovery rules for payments normally due in April and May, which means that reminder letters will not be sent if you partly pay these installments or miss them altogether. Please do not contact us if you cannot make these payments.

Please note however, that the full amount of Council Tax for 2020-21 is still due by the end of March 2021.

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 we still be charged for monthly gym memberships while Dolphin Centre is closed?

You will not be billed on 1 April for membership. We have frozen membership payments until further notice. Check the website for updates: www.healthydarlington.co.uk

What about prepaid swimming lessons?

Payments are on hold and you can start the 10-week block when we reopen.

Can I get on 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 council staff at venues that are closed eg Dolphin Centre, Head of Steam, Hippodrome – are they being given other work to do?

These staff are helping provide essential services elsewhere in the Council.

Public Transport

Supermarkets are offering an hour early in the day to help the older generation get their essentials but the issue of bus passes not valid until 9.30am in most cases, will this change?

Arriva North East announced on 20 March that concessionary passes can be used at any time on Arriva bus services.

More information on changes to Arriva services and coronavirus updates can be found on Arriva's website [external link].

Library

Will we be charged for overdue books at library?

No, there will be no charges for overdue books.

What do we do with 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?

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday 23 March, no weddings will be allowed to be take place until after Monday 13 April 2020. If you have a wedding booked with us during this time the Register Office staff will contact you to discuss this.

If you have a wedding booked with us after Monday 13 April 2020 and you have not already spoken to us, then you should contact the Register Office and we will help you understand your options, and explain how you can reschedule the wedding, if that is what you want to do.

Can I give notice of a marriage/civil partnership?

It is currently not possible to have an appointment to give notice of a marriage/civil partnership. We understand the anxiety and concerns about a wedding booking that you have with us. We will update this information as further decisions are made by the government and the council which affect weddings.

More information on Register Office services can be found on the public alerts page of our website.

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, due to start in April, will be delayed.

Is the tip open?

The tip is now closed until further notice.

As the garden waste scheme has been delayed this year will I get a refund?

We do not know when the scheme will open this year. We are not offering refunds at the moment but will keep the situation under review.

Is side waste/extra bags being taken whilst tip closed?

No. Our refuse collectors are following Government advice around social distancing. This means rounds are taking longer and we therefore don’t have time to collect and dispose of extra bags/side waste.

Why have you stopped emptying the dog bins?

We can only provide essential services at this time and this was not deemed essential

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

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 now closed, 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 still due to 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 further into debt.

If you have found that 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?

Unfortunately, we are having to temporarily restrict our repair service for tenants. For now, we are only able to deal with urgent and emergency situations – more details can be found 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?

All council meetings scheduled to take place in the near future have been cancelled - more details can be found on the public alerts page.

Can I still contact my councillor?

Ward surgeries have been cancelled but 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.