RESIDENTS have raised concerns over some of the emergency measures a local authority has launched to ensure it has sufficient staff to continue essential services.

Hundreds of self-isolating Darlington residents have taken to social media to complain about the borough council’s decisions to close the tip until further notice and stop emptying dog waste bins.

Changes to many of the council’s other services, such as only carrying out emergency street lighting and road repairs, withdrawing the town centre sweepers and stopping grass cutting, have drawn few comments.

Making the service changes announcement, the authority acknowledged it was introducing “huge changes”, but said they were essential to allow the council to continue to deliver critical services.

It also urged people to help keep the streets clean by taking litter and dog bags home.

Councillor Heather Scott, the authority’s leader, said: “As we work tirelessly to ensure we can continue to provide the most critical services, I would ask that you do as much as you possibly can to help too.”

However, while some residents expressed support for the changes, scores of people said the council had cut services which maintained sanitary conditions in the borough.

Responding to the announcement on the council’s Facebook page, Margaret Laybourn questioned why it had been necessary to cut services so drastically.

Another resident, Charlie Bradley, said: “The tip closure and stopping emptying dog waste bins are a public health hazard. Please reconsider.”

Other common themes included residents questioning whether they would receive a council tax rebate.

Councillor Matthew Snedker, leader of the council’s Green Party group, said he was supportive of the council’s contingency planning, but was concerned how resilient the authority could be to support those most in need of help.

He said to improve the response to the outbreak more financial assistance should be offered to some self-employed and zero hours contract workers, and the NHS needed to share key information on which residents would be most vulnerable to the virus with the council.

Cllr Snedker added he was concerned firms in the borough were telling residents to attend their workplaces, despite the job being non-essential and it being impossible to practise social distancing.