The future of a derelict former primary school in Stanley has been discussed at an urgent meeting involving several key agencies.
The meeting was convened to discuss the former Greenland Primary School building in South Moor and was attended by representatives from Durham County Council, Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, and Durham Constabulary.
The meeting took place in response to the fire at the school earlier this month. Firefighters spent eight hours tackling the blaze, which destroyed most of the roof and left much of the remaining structure unsafe.
Durham County Council and its partners are now looking to secure the long-term future of the former Greenland Primary School site, which was sold off in 2016.
The council has been in contact with the building’s owner. It is hoped that the building can be demolished and that new development can take place on the site.
Durham County Council’s head of environment, Oliver Sherratt, said, “We understand that the condition of the building is a cause of concern for those living nearby so we would like to reassure them that we are working extremely hard with our partners to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”
“Ideally, we would like to see the building demolished and the site redeveloped and brought back into use and that will be the driving factor behind our discussions with the owner.”
“In the meantime, we would ask that residents bear with us and continue to report any incidences of anti-social behaviour.”
Neighbourhood wardens are carrying out extra patrols on the site and fencing has been placed around it to protect passing pedestrians and motorists.
The ward member for Craghead and South Moor, Cllr Carole Hampson, said, “The council and its partners have been working hard over the past couple of weeks to deal with the immediate aftermath of the fire, but it is now time for the owner of the property to step in and take action over the long-term future of the building.”
“We know that residents are concerned about the site and we really want to reassure those living near the building that we will continue to do all we can to ensure the situation is resolved.”
If anyone has any information about the fire – or would like to report anti-social behaviour around the former Greenland Primary School site – they can phone 101.
A spokeswoman for Durham Constabulary said, “We are treating the incident at the former Greenland Primary School as arson. Anyone who has any information that could help our enquiries should contact us on 101, quoting incident number 377 of June 8.”
Those with information can also telephone the independent charity FireStoppers anonymously on 0800 169 5558.
(The featured image shows fire damage to the former Greenland Primary School building in South Moor, Stanley.)