AN MP says he is disappointed that an historic County Durham hotel could be razed to the ground within months – but admits it is difficult to see any alternative.

The Eden Arms at Rushyford, near Chilton, in County Durham, has been earmarked for demolition by its current owners.

Galaxy Limited has applied to planning authority Durham County Council for a determination on whether prior approval is needed for the building to be razed, along with any potential restoration of the site.

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The company suggests the demolition would be considered as ‘permitted development’ but public representations can be made to the council until October 29.

Subject to the outcome of that consultation, Galaxy has pencilled in a date for demolition work to start on November 29.

Sedgefield MP Paul Howell said: “I am always disappointed to see an iconic building like this come under threat as I, like others, have been to many meetings and a few wedding receptions here.

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“The building, like many of its like, has been tired for some time and it is difficult to see a future when the building is requiring such significant investment and there are many other local hotels that can offer better views, golf courses etc.

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“I hope that whatever comes next is sympathetic to the site, its history and local residents.”

His feeling were echoed by residents who took to social media to share their views.

One Facebook user wrote: “It's a part of history surely another hotel chain could take it on.”

Whilst others said it “will be sad to see it go”, “no way, this is an historical building” and “it’s our heritage”.

But another stated: “It’s not getting used, probably won’t reopen.

“It will just end up being broken into and vandalised. Knock it down and build a load of affordable housing.”

The Eden Arms started out as a 17th century coaching inn called The Wheatsheaf and occupied just the northern end of the row of buildings.

When The Eden family, of nearby Windlestone Hall, sold off the estate in the 1930s, The North Eastern Brewery Company paid £6,500 for the hotel and the rest of its row.

The brewery amalgamated the Manor House, at the southern end of the row, with the hotel to create the large hotel.

For decades it was a popular venue for tourists, business travellers and weddings with a gym, swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa.

Along with the loss of a historic building, demolition of the hotel would dramatically change the view at Rushyford, where the building faces onto the busy A689 roundabout.

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