Question mark over closure of training college

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CHURCH leaders have announced they are considering a U-turn over the closure of Ushaw College.

In October it was announced that the 200-year-old Roman Catholic College would close, but the board of trustees now say they are working with potential partners to safeguard the future of the historic estate.

A special task group, supported by eminent church officials and charities, has been formed in a bid to keep the college, on the outskirts of Durham City, open past its scheduled closure this summer.

The 200-year-old Roman Catholic college is home to St Cuthbert’s Seminary, where priests have trained since its foundation more than 400 years ago in France.

But last year, church leaders revealed a drop in numbers of priests training at the college meant it was no longer viable and would shut this June.

Despite all commercial activities ending at the college in December campaigners persisted in trying to find alternative uses for the college.

An online petition against the closure saw more than 1,000 people sign up to stop the closure.

A steering group has now been tasked with looking strategically at the historic estate’s buildings, libraries, archives and collections.

A spokesman for the board of trustees, said: “While there are proposals to be discussed, no firm solutions are available at this time.”