Consultations / Surveys

Long Term Empty Property Council Tax Premium consultation

Durham County Council is reviewing their policy relating to council tax charges for empty properties and want your views on proposals which would see the premium charge increased for long term empty properties.


Empty properties can deteriorate rapidly and become a target for vandalism and crime, having a negative effect on the neighbourhood and surrounding area. 

Since April 2013, we have charged a 50% premium on properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years unless they were undergoing major repairs. Up to 12 months delay in paying the premium could be allowed so major repairs could be completed. Within six months of being introduced in 2013, 727 properties had been brought back into use. A third of all long-term empty properties are owned by absent landlords.

Following a change in the law in April 2019, we can now charge a larger percentage of premium for these types of houses.

Evidence shows that the premium provides an incentive to the owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use and could potentially boost the supply of properties available to rent in the county and help support our housing and homeless strategies.

To find out more and have your say on this consultation, please go to and complete the online survey.

The deadline is 5pm on 6 October 2019.

Flu Vaccination Survey

Healthwatch County Durham has been asked by Durham County Council’s Public Health team to gather feedback on what people think about the flu vaccination.  We want to find out what discourages eligible people from getting their free flu vaccination and find out what would encourage more people to get vaccinated.

The following are eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine: 

  • Children aged 2 - 10 years on 31st August 2019
  • Those aged 65 years old or over   
  • Pregnant women 
  • People with certain medical conditions, aged 6 months – 65 years
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Those in close contact with immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and social care workers 

We would be grateful if you could complete the survey by following this link:

All responses are anonymous and the deadline for completing the survey is 19 July 2019.

Integrated Sexual Health Service consultation

The Integrated Sexual Health Service (ISHS) delivered by County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust (CDDFT), are seeking the views of young people aged under 25 years and adults over the age of 25 years to help shape their services. 

The consultation is now live and will run until 17th May 2019.

Please use the links below to access the consultation surveys.

In addition to the above links, the surveys will be accessible through the CDDFT website and paper copies will be available for those attending clinics. 

Citizens Advice County Durham Survey

Citizens Advice is undertaking a consultation to help to understand the things that are important to people in County Durham so that they can continue to shape services to best meet their needs.

To take part in the short survey, please click on the link below and follow the instructions on screen

Citizens Advice County Durham Survey

Shotley Bridge Community Hospital Services - Public Engagement events

The NHS in Durham will be launching an engagement exercise to hear from local people about services that could be provided from a brand new health facility in the North West Durham area – and we want to hear your views!

NHS North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning and buying the majority of health services in the area, is keen that public feedback helps to influence how services are provided in the future.

The CCG will be undertaking an eight week engagement period from Thursday 27 March – 22 May 2019 but we wanted to let people know about the events before then. Please do share this information with any groups or individuals that you feel would be interested in attending or participating.

Further information will be shared when the CCG officially launch the engagement next week.

Come along to one of the CCG’s public events and find out more. We will also be holding a series of ‘pop-up’ events at Shotley Bridge Community Hospital and a variety of community centres across the local area during the engagement to talk to you about this. Online opportunities to feedback will also be available from 27th March too.  You can get in touch with us by using these dedicated contact details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 0191 389 8609 (recorded answerphone).




Online registration

Wednesday 10th April

6 – 8pm

Consett Football Club, DH8 7BF

Thursday 11th April

12 – 2pm

St Cuthbert’s Church Hall, DH8 0NW

Thursday 25th April

11.30am – 1.30pm

Blackhall Mill Community Centre, NE17 7TL

Tuesday 30th April

1 – 3pm

Lanchester Community Centre, DH7 0NY

Wednesday 8th May

1 – 3pm

Burnopfield Community Centre, NE16 7JF

Thursday 9th May

6 - 8pm

Bishop Ian Ramsey School, Medomsley, DH8 6QN

Wednesday 15th May

6 - 8pm Wolsingham School, DL13 3DJ

Thursday 16th May

1 – 3pm

Louisa Centre, DH9 0TE

The engagement programme will mainly focus on services currently provided at Shotley Bridge Community Hospital, which includes:

  • Outpatients – clinical appointments when you don’t need to stay in hospital overnight
  • Urgent care – when your GP practice is closed and you need medical attention but it’s not an emergency

  • Chemotherapy - a cancer treatment using medicine to kill cancer cells

  • Rehabilitation beds - where you can be supported to restore mobility to enable you to live as active life as possible

  • Diagnostics – x-rays and things like ultrasound scans

  • Theatre - where you would have operations 

  • Endoscopy – procedures that can examine the inside of your body using an instrument called an endoscope.