A NORTH-East authority is considering knocking down a derelict school building which was abandoned more than 20 years ago.

The former Easington Colliery Primary School, in Seaside Lane, has stood empty since 1997 and has been a target for vandals and antisocial behaviour.

Residents have been calling for the former school to be demolished for a number of years and in 2015 there was a campaign to get the Grade II listed building taken off the register which protects heritage assets.

Durham County Council has brought the site back into public ownership after previous owners failed to find a viable use for it.

It is now considering whether to knock down the rundown building, which has impacted on property prices, and is asking for people's views on what should be done with the site.

The Northern Echo:

The former Easington Colliery Primary School, which has been empty since 1997

Cllr Kevin Shaw, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “We have worked with every owner of the school since it was sold more than 20 years ago and tried to support them in realising their plans but, sadly, none have come to fruition.

“There is simply no appetite from developers to buy the buildings and, after more than two decades of investigating all possible options, we have been unable to identify any viable solution which would also meet local needs.

“We know it is the view of many local residents that the only possible option to bring the site back into use is to demolish the buildings, which have had a detrimental impact on the area and the lives of local residents for many years now, and we must explore this option seriously.”

Temporary uses for the site could include putting a "pocket park" there until a permanent solution can be found.

The school, which features two, two-storey teaching blocks, was designed in 1911 by Newcastle architect J Morson and took four years to build and once housed 1,700 pupils.

The Northern Echo:

The former school building, which is Grade II listed, has been an eyesore for a number of years

A public consultation on the proposals will run from January 15 to January 29.

Drop-in events, where council officers and local county councillors will be on hand to provide further information on the proposals and wider regeneration plans for the area will take place at Easington Colliery Welfare Hall on Thursday, January 16 from 5pm to 8pm and Tuesday, January 21 from 1pm to 4pm.

Information boards will also be situated in Easington Colliery Library throughout the consultation period.