Councillor blasts town hall bosses as second vacant school building in 18 months is destroyed in fire

The former Clarendon Street School went up in flames on Monday

Starting Point School was demolished after four fires in three months

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

BOLTON Council has been criticised because a school building — destroyed in a mystery blaze — had been left vacant for months after it became disused.

Clarendon Primary School’s Victorian former home in Clarendon Street became the second former school building in Bolton to be ravaged by fire in the last 18 months.

Cllr John Walsh said there was “no excuse” for the buildings being left derelict as the council had months to plan their future after deciding they would close.

But council chiefs insisted they had disposed of those buildings in the safest and most cost-efficient manner possible.

Oldhams Primary School, which was a regular target for vandals, was demolished in March, 2013. There had been four fires in three months at the site.

The Clarendon Street building, built in 1886, will now also be demolished.

Cllr Walsh said: “The real issue is that once again the council has vacated a building, leaving it standing idle.

“There ought to be a full exit strategy to make sure things like this do not happen and buildings are not left prone to vandalism.

“This has now been vacant for months and not been demolished. Buildings should be demolished as soon as they are empty, or put to future use, so they are not lost in this way.”

The fire service has been unable to establish a cause for the blaze on Monday at the old Clarendon building.

Clarendon School moved into new facilities across the road in Bridgeman Street in April, and the council has admitted the old building had been targeted by vandals a few times since then.

Police warned the council to board up the ground floor of the school after they were called to an act of criminal damage on Sunday evening.

Cllr Walsh added: “Schools are not just built overnight. They will have spent years planning the new site and getting it ready, so something should have been done in advance to ensure the old site’s safety or arrange its demolition.”

A council spokesman said: “Not all our empty buildings are destined for demolition. In some cases they are marketed for sale, or as rental opportunities.

“For those planned for demolition, we have to carry out surveys that, for health and safety reasons, can only be completed once a building becomes vacant.

“We also have to undergo a tender process to appoint a contractor, along with arranging disconnection of utility services.”

Comments (8)

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9:37am Thu 24 Jul 14

Wolfie190 says...

Lots of mysterious fires in Bolton I was expecting Smithills coaching house to go up in flames too.
Lots of mysterious fires in Bolton I was expecting Smithills coaching house to go up in flames too. Wolfie190
  • Score: 7

9:49am Thu 24 Jul 14

Hollieanne says...

Disposed of in the most cost effective manner eh? I supposed that is one way of putting it! As for the utility services; there was a reference in a previous article that the lights were left on until midnight. Since the building had been closed for months why had the electricity not been turned off? I assume the tax payer was/is forking out for this
Disposed of in the most cost effective manner eh? I supposed that is one way of putting it! As for the utility services; there was a reference in a previous article that the lights were left on until midnight. Since the building had been closed for months why had the electricity not been turned off? I assume the tax payer was/is forking out for this Hollieanne
  • Score: 8

10:18am Thu 24 Jul 14

tinypet says...

Building site for more houses i take it, how convenient to have a mystery fire
Building site for more houses i take it, how convenient to have a mystery fire tinypet
  • Score: 1

10:53am Thu 24 Jul 14

FreedomOfSpeech1945 says...

We all know that the Labour council have a hidden agenda. To let a building of such age and history, not to mention fantastic architecture go up in flames like that is disgusting!
We all know that the Labour council have a hidden agenda. To let a building of such age and history, not to mention fantastic architecture go up in flames like that is disgusting! FreedomOfSpeech1945
  • Score: 12

11:57am Thu 24 Jul 14

Tim Burr says...

A very sad end for a building that has served its community well for over 100 years, it doesn't deserve to be demolished and some of us would have preferred to see it converted to social housing units due to the desperate need for one and two bedroom units in the town. There were a number of grants available but those on the top table wouldn't listen. Our "leaders" are happy to see any heritage they can't claim credit for (no laughing please) turned into rubble and filtered out of history.
A very sad end for a building that has served its community well for over 100 years, it doesn't deserve to be demolished and some of us would have preferred to see it converted to social housing units due to the desperate need for one and two bedroom units in the town. There were a number of grants available but those on the top table wouldn't listen. Our "leaders" are happy to see any heritage they can't claim credit for (no laughing please) turned into rubble and filtered out of history. Tim Burr
  • Score: 13

1:22pm Thu 24 Jul 14

cliff4treasurer says...

This my comment from the original story.
Amount of time to plan for school closure? 12 months?
amount of time to plan for demolition of no longer used school building? 12 months?
Number of rocketscientists employed by Bolton council? 0.
This my comment from the original story. Amount of time to plan for school closure? 12 months? amount of time to plan for demolition of no longer used school building? 12 months? Number of rocketscientists employed by Bolton council? 0. cliff4treasurer
  • Score: 3

6:18pm Thu 24 Jul 14

pjgarside says...

Tim Burr wrote:
A very sad end for a building that has served its community well for over 100 years, it doesn't deserve to be demolished and some of us would have preferred to see it converted to social housing units due to the desperate need for one and two bedroom units in the town. There were a number of grants available but those on the top table wouldn't listen. Our "leaders" are happy to see any heritage they can't claim credit for (no laughing please) turned into rubble and filtered out of history.
My sentiments too. a great service to the community by creating social housing and preserving a building that deserved to stand for another 100 years
[quote][p][bold]Tim Burr[/bold] wrote: A very sad end for a building that has served its community well for over 100 years, it doesn't deserve to be demolished and some of us would have preferred to see it converted to social housing units due to the desperate need for one and two bedroom units in the town. There were a number of grants available but those on the top table wouldn't listen. Our "leaders" are happy to see any heritage they can't claim credit for (no laughing please) turned into rubble and filtered out of history.[/p][/quote]My sentiments too. a great service to the community by creating social housing and preserving a building that deserved to stand for another 100 years pjgarside
  • Score: 3

10:09pm Thu 24 Jul 14

bob the biker says...

why was it not made safe? answer because Bolton council officers are useless
why was it not made safe? answer because Bolton council officers are useless bob the biker
  • Score: 3

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