Simpson Street School building to be saved following fire which caused significant damage
A former Sunderland school building that was damaged by fire will be saved, council bosses have confirmed.
It was feared the Grade II listed building – which is currently owned by Sunderland City Council- would be damaged beyond repair, however checks carried out on the structure have shown that it is not beyond rescue.
The council was on the verge of agreeing the sale of the building to a private investor before it was ravaged by fire.
The investor has said it will continue to work with the council to agree a deal – thought to be unchanged from that being discussed before the fire.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The old Simpson Street School is a magnificent building and the strength of sentiment from residents after the blaze showed that is very much-loved.
“We were committed to finding investment to bring it back to life before the fire, and our will to do that remains.
“We are delighted that we can continue talks with a North East business that is keen to take on the building and bring it back into use, and we hope to be able to move forward quickly to secure a deal that will restore and revive this beautiful property.”
Structural engineers are preparing a full report, however, it is understood there was significant damage to one of the building’s staircases which will now need to be fully replaced.
Part of the roof of the building has also been affected by the fire, but the majority of the fire damage caused was isolated and much of the building remains unscathed.
The council has confirmed that the developer has plans to convert the building into a mixed-use scheme, comprising housing and commercial space, which will have to be passed through normal council planning processes.