COUNCIL officials have set out a number of options aimed at alleviating flooding problems in a village near Darlington.
Residents in The Glebe and Friars Pardon, in Hurworth, have long complained of flooding misery.
A meeting between Darlington Borough Council, Hurworth Parish Council, Northumbrian Water and local residents was held in March.
Bill Westland, the council's assistant director for regulatory services, has written to residents with an update on the situation.
He wrote: "The council wants to support residents in identifying and implementing a solution to remove the risk of flooding fromThe Glebe and the field behind Friars Pardon.
"However, options are limited and difficult.
"At the meeting, some residents put forward a proposal to 'scrape' The Glebe, to allow water to flow towards Roundhill Road without entering properties on either side of The Glebe."
Mr Westland said the council supported this approach in principle, however it was not detailed enough to be adopted.
He added: "Following the meeting, legal advice was sought as to whether the council could offer funding to support residents to carry out this work.
"The advice was that the council would then be liable for such works and given the lack of detail of the proposal, the works can not be assured and funding can therefore not be offered."
He said the council's highways department could not take on the work because to do so would exceed the £2,000 cost proposal put forward by residents.
He added: "If residents wish to organise scraping The Glebe themselves, the council would not object, as long as sufficient work was done to demonstrate that the work would not impact adversely on others.
"A closure of the footpath may be required, but this can be arranged quite quickly. This is one option for residents to consider."
A local levy fund was allocated for Hurworth last year, but Mr Westland said a project appraisal report would have to be compiled in order to access this.
Other options set out by Mr Westland include:
* Putting forward a bid for funding to the Environment Agency;
* Carrying out work to raise the boundaries of at-risk properties;
* Installing drainage along The Glebe to the water course in Blind Lane, although this is likely to be too expensive.
Mr Westland has asked for residents' views before an attempt is made to move forward.
He added: "It would also be valuable to have a much clearer understanding from residents as to which properties have suffered flooding and when."