Views aired on future of Middleton church
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A CONSULTATION into the future of an historic upper dale church was concluded last week.
Grade II listed St Mary’s Church, in Middleton-in-Teesdale, has been closed since dry rot was discovered in its floorboards while renovation work was being carried out in 2020.
Previously, tens of thousands of pounds had been raised to repair the roof and guttering and to install new lighting.
An initial estimate to replace the floor of about £50,000 plunged the church’s future viability in doubt.
The parochial church council, with funding from the neighbourhood budgets of county councillors Richard Bell and Ted Henderson, commissioned the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), to compile a report on how the church can continue to operate and serve the community.
Part of the report included two consultation events, at Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support’s (Utass) offices, during which people could share their ideas.
Amanda Brocklehurst, regeneration officer for the CCT, said: “The outcome of the consultation will be used to inform the wider work we are doing to formulate some options to help guide the parochial parish council.”
It had previously been suggested that part of the church be used as a cultural and heritage centre, while still offering services.
Dozens of people attended the two consultation events and CCT officials say comments will now be considered before proposals are drawn up.