Concerns have been raised over the state of disrepair former hotel and local landmark has fallen into.  

The Eden Arms Hotel was once a popular venue and thriving destination due to its location on the A689 and A167 near Newton Aycliffe and Chilton. Its main selling point was its bar, large restaurant, and function rooms, as well as a leisure club with a fully equipped gym, indoor heated pool, and sauna. 

It was due to be demolished in 2021 after the previous owners Shearings folded during the pandemic but was saved and sold last summer, with the new owners planning to invest heavily in the building to keep it trading as a hotel and hospitality operation. 

Now, as Rushyford residents say they have seen people entering the building they have raised concerns over the uninhabitable living conditions. When The Northern Echo visited the hotel the recent freezing weather had misted up the windows, suggesting a lack of central heating inside. Ice had previously frosted over many of the windows, neighbours said.  

Around the back of the hotel some windows are broken and there are visible signs of leaks and wall damage. People have been seen working inside throughout the night but locals are worried about the conditions. Durham Police recently attended the site and ruled there was legitimate workers present who are contracted to work on the hotel. 

Read more: Graffiti appears on former County Durham hotel as concern over building grows

The graffiti 'no migrants', 'not wanted', and 'not welcome' could be seen on the front of the building but has now been removed. Anonymous letters were also posted to all neighbours last year, adding to the concerns over the living conditions and the plans to house refugees inside.  

The Northern Echo: Around the back of the hotel some windows are broken and there are visible signs of leaks and wall damageAround the back of the hotel some windows are broken and there are visible signs of leaks and wall damage (Image: The Northern Echo)

One resident said: “The hotel roof leaks, it is damp, some windows are disintegrating, and I worry that the place is not fit for human habitation. We do not want to see an incident on our doorstep where the health of people is compromised. The hotel is dilapidating on a daily basis. 

“I understand from a neighbour who did some repair work in there that the place is very damp and we are obviously not only concerned that we are living next to an eyesore but that the residents of the building may be exposed to mould and other hazardous substances. 

“It's irreparable unless you’ve got really deep pockets. There’s ice on the inside of the windows - it can’t be good conditions.”  

Windlestone Parish Council, which serves Rushyford, said a group of migrant Romanian workers have been contracted to work on the heating and plumbing inside the building. 

But the planning manager for Durham County Council confirmed that no planning applications have been received for the building. The parish council added that the owners’ intention remains to open the property as a hotel.  

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The Northern Echo: The hotel was recently daubed with graffiti The hotel was recently daubed with graffiti (Image: The Northern Echo)

“How they expect people to live in there I just don’t know,” another neighbour said.  

“It’s been in a bad state of disrepair since the beginning. There were leaks in the roof that kept putting the ceilings down inside. It’s in a dreadful state of repair with the damp inside. It absolutely stinks to high heaven. 

“We just wish we knew what was going on.” 

No information or contact details for the new owners could be found online.