A MUCH-LOVED building has been given a new lease of life after refurbishment.

Langley Park’s Miners’ Institute on Church Street was officially reopened today (FRI) after a £200,000 refurbishment.

Work on the building was desperately needed when it fell into disrepair and was closed in 2009 after health and safety concerns.

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The building was used primarily as a social club and still houses a large billiards table dating back to 1906. It was also used to hold meetings for miner’s unions and various other community groups.

The closure of the building caused an outcry and local residents aired their concerns to local councillors and at Area Action Partnership and Esh Parish Council meetings.

New work on the building includes the replacement of windows and doors, a new computer room, fully refurbished toilets and the redecoration of the main hall and the old billiards room.

The venue has rooms for hire available and will serve as a hub for local clubs and societies. The newly reopened building will also be used for parish council meetings and holding weekly luncheon clubs for elderly residents.

Funding for the project was led by Councillors Joe and Barbara Armstrong, who raised £180,000 from the County Durham Community Foundation, Banks Community Funds and Derwentside Homes.

Ex-Councillor Malcolm Campbell also contributed some of his Neighbourhood Budget from 2012.

Coun Joe Armstrong said: "We are thrilled to bits about the completion of the project. It’s been a big effort from all our partners to finish the work and I’m proud to see the building open again."

Malcolm Berry, a local resident said: "Everyone in Langley Park has to be really happy. Seeing the building has brought back a lot of memories. For the people who live here the building has been a blot on the street, it was all boarded up and in a bad state."

"The quality of the new work is brilliant. I was expecting to see the building as it was, but now it has some good quality facilities. Now it’s going to need a lot of support from local people and volunteers to keep it going."