[Church of England] The key to unlock the transformation of Auckland Castle has been turned, with the ownership of Auckland Castle and the Zurbaran paintings being transferred from the Church Commissioners to new trusts.
In a joint statement issued by The Auckland Castle Trust, the Bishop of Durham and the Church Commissioners today, it was announced that the transfer of Ownership and Title from the Church Commissioners to The Auckland Castle and Zurbaran Trusts has now been successfully completed. The transfer signals that work to turn the Castle into a place worthy of its historical significance as the palace in which the Prince Bishops have resided. Its national importance will be reflected in its permanent exhibition of the history of Christianity in Britain and a major restoration of the castle and grounds.
Speaking ahead of the announcement Rowena Hackwood - Chief Executive Officer of The Auckland Castle Trust said: "It's been a long haul but we've got there. The Castle and the paintings have been saved for the people of the Northeast, which was always the most important factor in all of the negotiations. For eight hundred years the region has served the Castle; now we want to turn the tables and make sure that the Castle becomes the servant of its surroundings.
"We have a festival on August Bank Holiday Monday to celebrate our arrival and so let the public see what we have planned. I am really excited about the possibilities that this announcement finally allows to take shape and I look forward to the coming months and the birth of the next stage in the life of Auckland Castle."
The Rt Revd Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, said: "This is great news and I am delighted that good progress continues to be made towards the future of Auckland Castle as a centre of regeneration and Christian Heritage both for tourism in the region and also for the local community. I look forward to seeing the excellent work that has now started being developed over the coming months, and being brought fully into fruition."
Andrew Brown, Secretary to the Church Commissioners, said: "The Church Commissioners welcome these positive developments which will secure the future development of Auckland Castle. We wish Auckland Castle and the Zurbaran Trust every success for the future."
Article from: Church of England