THE new faith museum at Bishop Auckland looks spectacular and is now ready to open on October 7.

Bishop Auckland needs faith. As a town centre, with its long stretched out main street to the station, it was a Victorian creation almost as a resort for the miners for miles around – they would come to Bishop to have all their needs satisfied, both shopping and drinking.

Since then, times have changed almost unrecognisably and so Bishop has to change and, while there is still plenty of dereliction, there are an increasing number of exciting projects that are beginning to transform the town.

Faith is going to be the centre piece of an extraordinary collection of offerings that will, hopefully, make Bishop a resort for the 21st Century: Romans, trains, miners, gardens and parks plus an amazing nightshow in Kynren, as well as the Spanish Gallery and now the new museum. We are already beginning to see private concerns such as tearooms and restaurants moving into the town alongside the remarkable Auckland Project, which is inspired by its founder, Jonathan Ruffer, and his money.

There are complaints that this is all being done to Bishop Auckland, but without it, it is hard to see how the town would have found a prosperous future.

The real dream is for the south of Durham to gain enough heft to demand that visitors stop here overnight to see all Bishop has to offer and to take in the wonders of the Bowes at Barnard Castle and to experience the birthplace of the railways and to visit the historic glory of Durham demands. No longer can you just tick off this area as a look-see at the cathedral on the way past to Edinburgh.

So we’ve got to have Faith so that we can have faith in the future. Good luck to it!