A HALL that has been disused for years is now seeing an increase in trespassers and ‘Urban explorers’ looking for abandoned buildings.

Police have recently been working with the new owners of Windlestone Hall near to Rushyford.

The hall was the birthplace and home of former Prime Minister Anthony Eden and has had a troubled history since being closed as a residential special school back in 2006.

It was owned by Durham County Council until they sold it in 2011.

It then passed through the hands of two more owners and the hall fell into disrepair and was a target for thieves and vandals over a number of years.

The Hall is now in the hands of new owners who plan to return it to a residence, as well as opening up the parkland to the public.

The Windlestone Park Estate Preservation Trust, registered in March of 2020, is hoping to turn the derelict former stately home, into two and three bedroom apartments.

In a planning application submitted online, the trust outlines further plans to build 13 four and five bedroom homes on the site.

There are also hopes to restore the Old Stables, the Hall gardens, the walled garden, the clocktower and the clocktower stable courtyard, which have fallen into a state of disrepair.

The building has attracted many explorers and local youths who venture on to the private grounds, however the police say they are determined to put a stop to this.

The building is undergoing a lot of regeneration work and some parts maybe unsafe, especially in the dark of winter.

Police have been working with these new owners to address the continued attendance of youths causing Anti-Social Behaviour and also the presence of so called 'Urban Explorers'.

This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in calls to Police and the number of persons trying to access the area have fallen accordingly.

The Hall now has state of the art CCTV and 24-hour security, which has assisted with preventing trespass.

The Police have also continued to maintain close links with the owners to assist them when needed.

The police hope that this will help developments go ahead without disturbance and provide a new and bright future for Windlestone Hall.