Council are looking at 'feasible' options for landmark former school in Burnley

Burnley Council have said that a variety of options that would be feasible are being looked at for the future of the former Wood Top School.
Burnley Council have said that a variety of options that would be feasible are being looked at for the future of the former Wood Top School.
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Burnley Council are looking at a variety of options for the future of a former school that has been derelict for almost 20 years.

A spokesman for Burnley Council said today that feasible options were being considered for the former Wood Top School in Accrington Road that has been closed and empty since 2000.

The spokesman said: "Any projects in the pipe-line would have to receive the approval of the council's Executive panel.

Green Party councillor Andy Fewings has called for action at the site which he has branded an eyesore that is creating misery for residents.

He said he hoped a way could be found to salvage as much as possible of the old character of the building in a modern new initiative such as an affordable housing project or community building built to the highest energy efficiency standards incorporating the old stone of the current structure.

Coun. Fewings said: "If we hadn’t lost a decade, a community centre for the residents or artist studios would have been a good way to keep the building occupied."

The school closed down in 2000 and was bought by Burnley Council in 2009 for around £300,000.

A grade two listed building the school was founded in 1866 but the deathknell sounded for it after falling pupil numbers, a critical Ofsted report and an old Victorian building needing an estimated £300,000 worth of repairs, led to Lancashire County Council closing the doors for good.

It has fallen into further disrepair since its closure, with regular vandalism by yobs in and outside the building, lead stolen off the roof, brickwork damaged and damp problems.

The single-storey premises has three large open-plan classrooms, an assembly hall, a research room, staff room, kitchen, toilets, and a large playground and grassy area at the back of the building.

On its closure after 134 years, Wood Top had just 61 pupils, 42 of whom were forced to move on to other infants' schools, with the remainder leaving for primary school and staff had to move on and find new jobs.

In 1892 the school recorded an amazing figure of 410 pupils.