In the News …

Sadly for the wrong reasons, Again,

St Peter’s Church fire in Bishop Auckland treated as ‘arson’
11th April 2024 NORTHERN ECHO

An arson investigation his underway following a fire at the derelict St Peter’s Church in Bishop Auckland yesterday evening.

Durham Police were called to reports of a fire at St Peter’s Church on Princes Street in Bishop Auckland at 7pm on Wednesday (April 10).
They have confirmed they are treating the blaze as arson and have launched an investigation alongside County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS).
CDDFRS confirmed five appliances from Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor, Durham and Darlington attended the scene, along with one aerial ladder platform.
A Durham Police spokesperson said: “Police were called shortly after 7pm last night (April 10) to reports of a fire at St Peter’s Church on Princes Street, Bishop Auckland.
“Officers assisted fire crews from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service at the scene.
“The fire is being treated as arson and a joint investigation is now underway.”
A CDDFRS spokesperson said: “We were called at around 7.54pm on Wednesday, April 10 to a fire at St Peter’s Church on Princes Street, Bishop Auckland.
“Five engines from Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor, Durham and Darlington attended the scene, along with one aerial ladder platform from Durham.
“Crews used electric saws and other tools to enter the building.
“Firefighters then used a hose reel, mainline jet, and thermal imaging cameras to extinguish the blaze.
“Crews left the scene at 10.35pm.
“A joint investigation with Durham Constabulary has been launched to establish the cause of the fire.”

Sadly for the wrong reasons,

This image has an empty alt attribute
Photo credit to Durham Police

10th May 2021, Officers raided the former St Peter’s church, in Bishop Auckland last night (Sunday Evening) following a tip off. Not only did the police discover 1,200 plants but also four men in the process of moving them out. The four men were arrested.

6th July 2021 (Credit to the Northern Echo), Emergency services were called to a church in County Durham last night after youths broke in and had to be rescued. Police were called to St Peter’s Church, in Princes Street, Bishop Auckland on Monday following reports of a group of youths inside the historic building. A spokesperson from Durham Police said: “Police were called to reports shortly after 8.30pm last night”. Officers were assisted by crews from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service to bring a man down safely from the roof. “The premises was then secured following an extensive search.” Witnesses said teenagers were on the roof throwing things below and causing a nuisance. One Princes Street resident said: “There was a lot of commotion last night. Kids broke into the church and then climbed onto the roof. It’s really dangerous and a miracle nobody was hurt. “Something really needs doing about the building it’s just waiting to be vandalised – it’s already been used as a drugs den this year. “We just really don’t want the trouble on the street so hope it will be turned into something or pulled down.”

The North East Ambulance Service were also alerted to a number of people on the church roof at 9.15 last night. A spokesperson said the request was cancelled however as they were not needed.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service sent one truck along with an aerial ladder platform. A spokesperson said: “We were called by Durham Constabulary at 8:40pm yesterday evening to assist in the rescue of a male from St Peter’s Church roof, on Princes Street in Bishop Auckland. In conjunction with the police, a plan was put in place to bring the man to the ground safely and thankfully with no injuries. We left the scene at 10:28pm.”

It is not the first time the church has been broken into as it was the base of a cannabis operation earlier this year.

On the 16th June 2021, the former church was soon back on the market with a guide price of £95000.

On the 27th of September 2021, it was stated that the auction was complete and that the church had been sold for £100,000

The next chapter in the life of the church begins ……

Copied from a post on Facebook.

The Bluebell project CIC
by Hannah Groves in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, United Kingdom

The Bluebell project cic is raising funds to purchase St.Peters church and hall on princes street, Bishop Auckland.This beautiful grade 2 listed building has been vacant since 2017 and unfortunaitley has been vandilised and has been the subjected to criminal activity.

Apart from being an important part of Bishop Auckland heritage it is also the church that the famous Stan Laurel was baptised!

The purchase of this building will enable The Bluebell project to convert the old hall building into supported accommodation for people with long term mental health illness .

The tenants will take part in a collaborative recovery program during their stay which will be person centred and delivered by a team of experienced and qualified staff.

The aim of this program is to enable and equip participants to become productive members of their community.

participants will be given opportunities to gain work experience, training, education, life skills and gain the confidence to know they are capable of achieving their goals.

The church itself will host a large community hall for our outreach and community groups to use.

The Bluebell project is committed to braking social deprivation and isolation by offering groups and activities for all ages and interests.

The main funds to purchase this building and bring this exciting project to life has been funded from staffs personal finances, showing just how committed we are to The Bluebell project!

By helping us to purchase St.Peters church and hall you are ensuring this beautiful building is being used for what it was always designed to do…….serve the local community.

St.Peters deserves to be cared for and restored to its former glory and its local community deserves The Bluebell project.

thank you for taking the time to read this

The Bluebell project CIC

Sadly in this form it was unsuccessful and The Bluebell Project CIC was dissolved via compulsory strike-off.