Wrecking crew finally ready to move in to demolish old school site which has been a blight on community for decades
A demolition team will move in to start work on a former school site within days, bringing years of uncertainty to an end for the eyesore site.
Easington Colliery School, built in 1913, closed in 1997 and has become increasingly dilapidated as a series of plans failed to come to fruition, leading it to be branded the North East’s biggest pigeon loft and a magnet for vandals and thieves.
It was at the centre of a series of appeals for it to be knocked down, while others said it should be protected.
Now, after years of work being on the horizon, it is to be razed to the ground, with its 16-week demolition starting on Monday, July 19.
At the suggestion of residents, the land is to be turned into a pocket park by Durham County Council while developers will be welcome to put forward plans.
Easington Labour Councillors David Boyes and Angela Surtees say they are “delighted” with the news following years of efforts backed by parish councillors, residents and county council officers.
Coun Boyes said the key to pushing on with the demolition came after English Heritage was persuaded to drop its objections three years ago.
He said: “This has been a long time coming.
"I’ve been a county councillor since 2008 and Angela has since 2013 and we’ve been attending meetings about it on a monthly basis.
"The pocket park will make it a nice little secluded place right in the heart of Easington and if a developer comes along, we can take a look at those plans.”
Councillor James Rowlandson, the county council’s cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, said despite “significant efforts” it had not been possible to find a new use for the building.
He added: “This is clearly having a detrimental impact, not only on the built environment, but also on the lives of local residents, so it is vital that we take action to address the issue.
“It is great to see that the situation is now moving forward, and residents will soon be able to see a significant improvement into their local community.”
The scheme is being carried out as part of the council’s Towns and Villages programme, which aims to tackle issues in communities and act as a catalyst for further regeneration and investment.