School's says could finally be over with push for demolition order

The fate of a wrecked school site involved in a 20-year wrangle could be resolved within days.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 1:35 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:05 am
Shutters have been put up in the windows of the former school site.

A demolition order for Easington Colliery School was approved two years ago, but was halted when Historic England said not enough had been done to find a new use for the Baroque-style buildings.

Constructed in 1913 and empty since 1997, the Grade II listed site has fallen into a state of disrepair and proved a magnet for thieves and vandals, as well as pigeons.

Councillor David Boyes.

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Various proposals have been put forward for them, but none have materialised.

An independent report commissioned by Durham County Council has concluded efforts to find a redeveloper have been exhausted.

It is hoped that will persuade Historic England to allow another demolition order to be submitted so the site can be cleared.

A meeting will take place this week, bringing together councillors and officers from Durham County Council, Historic England and the site’s owner Tony Mann to discuss the issue.

Interior of the former school buildings in Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery

Councillor David Boyes, who will attend alongside fellow ward member Angela Surtees, said: “My hope is, and 99% of the Easington community is behind this, that demolition can go ahead on that site and get something else on there.

“It’s been shut for 20 years, it looks awful.”

If a further demolition order is submitted an approved by planners, the application will still have to be given the okay by the Secretary of State.

Shutters have recently been installed because of break-ins to the Seaside Lane compound.

Councillor David Boyes.

The site is still being marketed as a development opportunity, with offers invited for the freehold.

A previous demolition before the one approved in 2015 plan was refused by the Government, sparking a public inquiry.

English Heritage and the Victorian Society have been among those calling for the school buildings to remain because they believe they are a heritage asset.

Interior of the former school buildings in Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery