PLANS to demolish a landmark hotel were only made after a failed attempt to get listed status for the former 17th century coaching inn.

The Eden Arms at Rushyford near Chilton, County Durham, has been earmarked for demolition and work to pull it down could begin as soon as early as next month.

The property company behind the proposal, Galaxy Limited, has applied to Durham County Council for prior approval to clear the site.

Representations can be made to the council until October 29 and, subject to the outcome of that consultation, Galaxy says demolition work could start on November 29.

The move was greeted with dismay by many residents who object to the loss of the historic building, which started out as a 17th century coaching inn called The Wheatsheaf.

Read more: The history of the Eden Arms at Rushyford

But The Northern Echo has learnt that before the demolition plan was submitted, Historic England was asked to consider granting listed status in recognition of its importance and affording it greater protection.

However the public body, which looks after the country’s historic environment, determined it did not meet the criteria for listing.

Experts said the hotel, on the junction of The Great North Road and the main east-west road linking Bishop Auckland and Durham City, first featured on an Ordnance Survey map in 1857 as a series of narrow ranges set around a pair of courtyards.

By 1897, small detached buildings had been added to the open courtyards, and there were further extensions in 1919 and 1939 and in the latter 20th century.

A report states: “The applicant claims a 16th century date for the main part of the hotel and in support cites several secondary sources suggesting an early foundation, as well as the form of its roof line and chimneys.

“While the hotel may occupy an important location in the landscape and it may occupy an early site, we consider the present building to be largely 19th century or early 20th century in character.”

Historic England said the building's architectural value had been compromised by uPVC window and door frames, significant alterations and modern interiors.

It said better examples of coaching inns exist nationally and there is no known close historic association between this building and a figure or event of national renown.


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