Gainford residents unhappy at proposals for the old St Peter's School building

Darlington and Stockton Times: The derelict St Peter's School building, in Gainford The derelict St Peter's School building, in Gainford

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.

Comments (5)

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10:55am Mon 16 Dec 13

behonest says...

In the same way that Germany has retained old sites and buildings as memorials to the horrors of the Holocaust, perhaps the council could turn this eyesore into a memorial site to remember the horrors of the abuse inflicted on local children, when it was an 'orphanage' and 'approved school' for many decades.

Why council officials would insist on local people continuing to suffer this evil place, on the ridiculous grounds of 'architectural importance', is unbelievable. Well, unbelievable to those of us living in the real world that is.

One other thing that is unbelievable is that some fine, upstanding residents of Gainford have not burnt this monstrosity to the ground long before now.
In the same way that Germany has retained old sites and buildings as memorials to the horrors of the Holocaust, perhaps the council could turn this eyesore into a memorial site to remember the horrors of the abuse inflicted on local children, when it was an 'orphanage' and 'approved school' for many decades. Why council officials would insist on local people continuing to suffer this evil place, on the ridiculous grounds of 'architectural importance', is unbelievable. Well, unbelievable to those of us living in the real world that is. One other thing that is unbelievable is that some fine, upstanding residents of Gainford have not burnt this monstrosity to the ground long before now. behonest

2:46pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Andyleigh says...

When I have driven through Gainford I have always thought that this was a very attractive building which must have a potential use.

However, I don't have to live near it and on further consideration I imagine that it would cost a fortune to convert it for some practical use. Shame really.
When I have driven through Gainford I have always thought that this was a very attractive building which must have a potential use. However, I don't have to live near it and on further consideration I imagine that it would cost a fortune to convert it for some practical use. Shame really. Andyleigh

4:00pm Mon 16 Dec 13

thehogman says...

Knock the eyesore down.
Knock the eyesore down. thehogman

7:02pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Jackaranda says...

behonest wrote:
In the same way that Germany has retained old sites and buildings as memorials to the horrors of the Holocaust, perhaps the council could turn this eyesore into a memorial site to remember the horrors of the abuse inflicted on local children, when it was an 'orphanage' and 'approved school' for many decades.

Why council officials would insist on local people continuing to suffer this evil place, on the ridiculous grounds of 'architectural importance', is unbelievable. Well, unbelievable to those of us living in the real world that is.

One other thing that is unbelievable is that some fine, upstanding residents of Gainford have not burnt this monstrosity to the ground long before now.
You know I have walked past this building a few times when I've been out with the dog and it appealed to me as being perfect for re-development, but not being from the area I didn't know its history. If it was used for the purpose as you've described then bulldoze it and start afresh.
[quote][p][bold]behonest[/bold] wrote: In the same way that Germany has retained old sites and buildings as memorials to the horrors of the Holocaust, perhaps the council could turn this eyesore into a memorial site to remember the horrors of the abuse inflicted on local children, when it was an 'orphanage' and 'approved school' for many decades. Why council officials would insist on local people continuing to suffer this evil place, on the ridiculous grounds of 'architectural importance', is unbelievable. Well, unbelievable to those of us living in the real world that is. One other thing that is unbelievable is that some fine, upstanding residents of Gainford have not burnt this monstrosity to the ground long before now.[/p][/quote]You know I have walked past this building a few times when I've been out with the dog and it appealed to me as being perfect for re-development, but not being from the area I didn't know its history. If it was used for the purpose as you've described then bulldoze it and start afresh. Jackaranda

10:42pm Mon 16 Dec 13

bishop1 says...

it's all well & good the council saying they should bring the building back into use , but in order to do that you have to find a use for it & people that want to use it .
and judging by the amount of time it has been empty it would seem that nobody wishes to use it , not to mention it's dark past .
perhaps demolition & returning the land back to nature could be the way forward .
it's all well & good the council saying they should bring the building back into use , but in order to do that you have to find a use for it & people that want to use it . and judging by the amount of time it has been empty it would seem that nobody wishes to use it , not to mention it's dark past . perhaps demolition & returning the land back to nature could be the way forward . bishop1

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