Legal fight over future of landmark

Date:

06/11/2008

Author:

Julian Thorpe

Source:

Bolton News

Matter:

SAVE - Clarence Street, Bolton

DEMOLITION work on an historic Bolton building has stopped while its fate is decided by lawyers.

The former Bolton Community College in Clarence Street was due to be torn down and replaced with a car park until an emergency legal challenge last week.

Now Bolton Council has voluntarily agreed to stop work, and contractors — who had already started removing the windows and roof — have downed tools.

Conservation group Save Britain’s Heritage obtained a High Court injunction last Friday to prevent demolition. That order expired on Tuesday.

The group would have had to a apply for a renewal of the order if the council had not agreed to stop work.

A council spokesman said: “The council has halted demolition of the Clarence Street building until all legal proceedings are resolved.”

If the council fights the legal challenge, the building’s fate will be decided in court. Otherwise, permission to demolish the building will be quashed and the council will have to start the process again.

Save Britain’s Heritage spokesman William Palin said: “That will hopefully give us time to persuade them that the building can be re-used.

“We are looking for people who might want to take it on because we don’t believe that the council has seriously examined alternative uses.”

At the request of Save Britain’s Heritage, one of Britain’s leading specialist structural engineers, Brian Morton, will examine the centre tomorrow to ensure that it is safe and fit to be redeveloped.

The former college centre was designed by Victorian architect Jonathan Simpson, and was originally built as an elementary school.