AIMING HIGHER: Judges pointed out areas for improvement after visiting Middleton-in-Teesdale for last year’s Northumbria-in-Bloom competition
AIMING HIGHER: Judges pointed out areas for improvement after visiting Middleton-in-Teesdale for last year’s Northumbria-in-Bloom competition

HERITAGE interpretation boards, weed-killing, daffodils in swathes and an ornamental lead-mining tub are among the ideas being considered to make an upper dale village more attractive.

Residents of Middleton-in-Teesdale were stunned after the village was reduced to a silver-gilt award winner in this year’s Northumbria-in-Bloom environmental competition after bagging gold for several years on the trot.

The team which organises the village’s entry into the competition has since called on their parish council to support some of its ideas for next year’s entry, including an idea to put up information boards near interesting attractions.

The ideas were discussed during the parish council’s November meeting when chairman Cllr Andy Mitchell said: “The [Northumbria-in-Bloom] judges felt there [should be] little boards to explain what things are, like Seed Hill where there are the stocks. To be fair, if you are having a leisurely wander around it is quite interesting to look at things like that. As long as it’s not too intrusive.”

Another idea put to the council was to pay homage to the village’s lead mining history by placing a commemorative tub in front of the tourist information centre and plant flowers in it.

Councillors agreed to both ideas but said they needed more information from Middleton-in-Bloom about the design and size of the information boards and the tub.

Another concern was the way daffodils were being planted on the village green and the problems they were causing for the contractor responsible for mowing it.

Cllr Bob Danby said: “Certainly, the contractor feels there was a commitment to putting them [daffodils] in swathes.

“When I talked to him, he was concerned about them being in clumps and the amount of time it was taking, and the additions that are going on the green making it more and more difficult, and more time-consuming, for him to do it.”

Cllr Christine Gilbert added: “Didn’t we say we would cut them off straight away so they wouldn’t come back? They can’t take them out because that will make a mess of the green, so that’s why we said, just chop them off straight away so the goodness doesn’t go back in so they don’t come back the next year.”

Other councillors could not remember that decision being taken but agreed to discuss the problem with Middleton-in-Bloom.

Another concern highlighted was an issue of weed killing in the village.

Cllr Mitchell said a path along Seed Hill was a case in point.

He added: “That always used to get sprayed and weed killed – I’m not sure who did it – but that hasn’t happened this year.”

Clerk to the parish council Judith Mashiter said it is a “grey area” as to what the parish council is responsible for and what Durham County Council is responsible for.

She said she would be in touch with the county’s clean and green team to find out what work they did in the village.

The council agreed that they would include weeding work in their annual community litter pick in the spring.