A County Durham museum will not open to the public for the start of the summer season as planned.

Durham County Council has taken the decision not to open Killhope at the beginning of next month, after an inspection revealed issues with the condition of some of the structures on the site.

Significant remedial work is required to ensure the integrity of a number of the structures including the launder, which carries water to the nineteenth century waterwheel.

The affected buildings need to be fenced off in order to ensure the safety of the public, meaning a significant proportion of the site would be inaccessible to visitors.

The council, therefore, believes it would not be appropriate to open the site to the public at this time.

Gill O’Neill, the council’s acting head of culture and sport, said: “We are currently assessing the condition of the buildings and structures on the site at Killhope, following an inspection which identified issues with the integrity of some of the structures.

“We need to await the outcome of these investigations before we make any decisions about how we address these issues.

“However, in the meantime, it is necessary to cordon off those areas of the site that are affected and it would, therefore, not be fair to welcome visitors when they are not able to access the whole of the site.”

Killhope usually opens to visitors between April and October, closing to the public over the winter.