Harrogate High School has urged the county council to move ahead with demolition of a disused office, which it has called an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘significant safeguarding risk’.
In a statement to The Advertiser the school this week called on North Yorkshire County Council to carry out work on the former Harrogate Area Education Offices on Ainsty Road. It has been in intermittent use since NYCC vacated the building in 2010. It was originally part of St John Fisher Catholic High School, before its move to Hooktone Drive in the 1960s.
A spokesperson for HHS said: “The school is fortunate to have moved into a brand new school building just over a year ago. HHS students are proud of their new school and take great care to look after their learning environment. “We are saddened that our young people and the local community are still having to contend with a building near our school which is an eyesore and which cannot be kept secure. The building poses a significant safeguarding risk to the community. We urge NYCC to demolish the buildings to ensure that the site is safe as soon as possible.”
NYCC says the building was in partial use by organisations until late 2017, but added the condition of the building had deteriorated. Planning permission was obtained in 2017 for demolition but contractors for the project have yet to be appointed.
A spokesperson said: “The property has, however, deteriorated in condition and has been the subject of repeated instances of trespass and vandalism.
“Since it became vacant at the end of 2017 the County Council has obtained planning consent for its demolition. Once contractors have been appointed, arrangements will be made for the building to be demolished. It is expected that this work will be completed by May 2019.”
NYCC also said it is responsible for management of the property and carrying out inspections to make sure it is secure until demolition work is carried out. Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, Coun Richard Cooper, was told by NYCC in December last year that work was to ‘be progressed’ on the site in the new year, after he was contacted by the school.
He said: “It’s clear that the county council and the school both want the building brought down, it seems to me there are good reasons to do that swiftly as the school has outlined. I very much hope the projected May date will be met, and if there is capacity to do it much sooner I am sure everyone would be much happier."