Repair works at Bishop Auckland’s historic Robinson Arch and clock tower have been given the green light by council planners.

In May, Durham County Council (DCC) received a planning application to restore the Grade one listed structure at Market Place.

The circa 1760 building defines the formal entrance to Auckland Castle and is surrounded by a number of listed buildings within the town’s conservation area.

New plans prepared by the Auckland Project aim to safeguard the site for future generations.

According to a Design, Access and Heritage statement, the current condition of the arch is poor with the structure suffering from a lack of maintenance in recent years.

The most serious aspects include cracks and stonework movement due to  iron cramps corroding within the clock tower and other areas of the facades.

Planned works range from external stonework repairs and replacing all lead roofs to timber conservation repairs and cleaning of some areas of stone facades.

The report goes on to say: “The other dilapidations and resultant proposed repairs, whilst individually small, collectively amount to a substantial number of repairs. 

“All these repairs however are proposed in a like for like manner and use traditional and accepted methods and materials.”

In addition, existing iron cramps which are likely to cause cracks will be removed from within the clock tower stonework and replaced with new stainless steel cramps.

According to the report, this is likely to require dismantling or taking down clock tower stonework and rebuilding.

However, investigations involving partial dismantling will be carried out at the beginning of the works to see if there is a “less invasive methodology.”

The Robinson Arch was commissioned by Bishop Richard Trevor and designed by Sir Thomas Robinson of Rokeby from which it takes its current name. 

The current clock mechanism was manufactured by William Potts & Sons in 1927 and likely installed around the same time. 

The clock is still maintained by the same company now trading as Smith of Derby. 

Following consultation, DCC’s planning authority approved the repair project on Monday, July 6.

Under planning conditions, work must be brought forward within the next three years.