Demolition plans, but still hope for abandoned school

Demolition plans, but still hope for abandoned school

By Gareth Dennison | 30/04/2021

Demolition plans, but still hope for abandoned school

 

MALTBY Learning Trust says it still hopes to save its abandoned grammar school despite submitting an application to demolish the whole thing.

Planning papers filed with Rotherham Council suggest a two-stage process, with the clocktower frontage coming down first.

This would leave the old library and classrooms to the east, which could be renovated or removed at a future date, if the permission is granted.

The fate of the 90-year-old Rotherham Road frontage has been subject to discussion for over a decade.

Maltby Academy said in 2012 that issues were identified with the old building which could not be fixed as part of the near-£11 million site overhaul using a government grant.

The neglected grammar school section last used in 2014 and fenced off from pupils has become a target of vandalism and break-ins.

Several videos posted to YouTube show trespassers touring the old classrooms and questioning why the electricity and heating had been left on.

The planning application said: “The trust’s site team are continuously securing and making safe the building, which is getting more and more difficult.

“The trust are doing all it can to ensure a serious accident does not occur. Maltby Academy has some mechanical and electrical services that are connected to the old grammar school and remain active.”

A trust spokeswoman added: “Although structurally sound, the building’s condition is deteriorating rapidly, and the threat of demolition is becoming more likely.”

Maltby Local History Society was distressed by the planning application.

Secretary Alice Rodgers (pictured) said: “This society numbers amongst its members many who know and love the well-sited building and who are sensible of its distinctiveness and contribution to the local scene.

“Amongst these are former pupils and staff who value the quality of the building and the glorious views it provided over the valley of Maltby Dike.”

The grammar school was established in 1931, opened the following year, merged with Maltby Hall in 1967 to become a comprehensive and switched to an academy in 2010.

“The school was built to last,” said Mrs Rodgers. “High quality local facing bricks made by the Maltby Metallic Brick Company and stone dressings have mellowed gracefully on its outer walls.

“The building occupies the high-status site of the former Maltby Hall. It is set on the steeply-sloping magnesian limestone scarp which is of considerable geological and wildlife interest.

“If any works are to take place on the former grammar school, they will need to pay heed to the environmental sensitivity and historic interest of their setting.”

An aspiration to remodel the full building for community use remains, the trust says but this will depend on external funding.

Trust chief executive David Sutton said: “Hopefully, through retaining the building’s links with Maltby Academy and sharing the facilities and expertise available, young people of Maltby and the broader community can be assisted in the move to employment and apprenticeships and the trust can encourage start-up initiatives, provide guidance and create new work experience opportunities.

“The trust is committed to engaging with a number of local community groups, the town council and local authority to try to access specific funding streams designed to upgrade old buildings, invest in community regeneration and crime reduction and bring safe community spaces into town centres.”

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