People are being invited to have their say on the future of Shildon’s Arches.
The three structures were erected in the town’s Main Street, Church Street and Town Square in 2000, but their condition has since deteriorated, with flaking paint and rusting metalwork now clearly visible.
With the cost of repairing and maintaining all three arches over the next 20 years estimated at £221,449, Durham County Council is asking residents if they should be retained or demolished.
A consultation on the future of the structures also includes the option to remove the metal arches and maintain the brick columns or to demolish two of the arches and keep the remaining one.
Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “Any money we use to repair and preserve the arches would need to come from our existing budgets.
“At a time of considerable financial cutbacks, we believe it is appropriate to ask the people of Shildon whether they would like to see the arches retained or if they believe the money required to do so would be better spent elsewhere.”
A consultation on the future of the arches is now underway, with people being asked to choose from four options:
Keep all three arches – immediate repair work would need to be carried out, with regular inspections and ongoing maintenance work totalling an estimated £221,449 over the next 20 years.
Remove the arch sections and keep the columns – this would mean there would no longer be a need for regular inspections or repainting. The columns could also be put to alternative use as a home for artwork or floral displays. The cost would be just over £18,000.
Demolish two arches – the cost of repairing and maintaining one arch would be significantly lower than three arches but would be dependent on which arch was retained.
Demolish all three arches – at a one-off cost of just over £17,000.
A consultation event will take place at Shildon Civic Hall on Tuesday, 4 October, with people invited to drop in between 10am and 8pm.
Alternatively, have your say online by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/consultation before Monday, 24 October.