A COUNCIL has confirmed it is auctioning off a historic building in Darlington.

Darlington Borough Council is to dispose of the house in North Cemetery, off Thompson Street West, by public auction.

The land for the cemetery was donated to the council by the five sons of Joseph Pease back in the late 1872 to build the new cemetery.

A spokesperson for Darlington Borough Council confirmed that cabinet has agreed to dispose of the building by auction.

The committee of Friends of North Park and North Cemetery are now "strongly" urging the council to use the money from the auction wisely.

A spokesperson for the committee said: "Whilst it is sad to witness the house falling into disrepair and suffering vandalism over a number of years, the Friends agree that a sale to someone who will maintain the building may be the better way forward.

"The Friends feel strongly that any proceeds should not be out into the council cemetery budget for general upkeep, repair and maintenance of the North Cemetery site - we would rather proceeds be used for extras more in line with the charitable purpose.

"Having discussed this issue with many local residents, the Friends feel this also reflects the general view locally."

A Darlington Borough Council spokesman said: “We share the Friends’ optimism that a new owner will be able to ensure the future maintenance of the building.

"Any receipt from the sale of the building will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of North Cemetery, in line with consultation and guidance from the Charities Commission.”