Councillors to discuss inclusion of "Victorian eyesore" in village's conservation area (From The Northern Echo)
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Gainford residents unhappy at proposals for the old St Peter's School building
CONTROVERSIAL plans to include a derelict school building described as a ‘Victorian eyesore’ within a conservation area will be discussed by councillors.
Members of Durham County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve an amendment to the Gainford Conservation Area boundary and character appraisal document, which were subject to public consultation earlier this year.
The amendments propose the extension of the boundary to include an area of land to the west of Gainford, along the riverside and to the north of the village to include East, West and South View.
An additional extension to the eastern boundary is also proposed in order to include the former St Peter’s School buildings and land, to promote the retention and reuse of the main school building, which dates back to 1900.
Although the county council describes the building as being of ‘architectural importance’, many villagers want to see the former boys’ school demolished.
The building, which has been empty since 1997, opened in 1900 as St Peter’s Community Home, an orphanage for up to 300 boys, before becoming an approved school.
It closed in 1984 and apart from a brief spell when part of it was used as a nursing home, it has stood empty since
During consultation exercises with members of the public and Gainford and Langton Parish Council, the building was described as a Victorian eyesore - unloved, neglected, and out of place as a red brick construction in an area with buildings made from sandstone.
Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The public consultation on the proposed changes to the boundary of Gainford Conservation Area highlighted a great deal of public interest, with a real mix of opinion, particularly in relation to the proposals for the former St Peters School buildings.
“All of the feedback has been carefully considered and the proposals put forward are designed to ensure the informed conservation of these important historical and architectural areas for future generations.”
Durham County Council’s Cabinet meets at the Town Hall, in Durham’s Market Place, this Wednesday, at 10am.
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