THESE images show the ‘horrendous’ damage that has been done to the iconic former school on Lea Road in Gainsborough - sparking concern and anger from local residents.
Thousands of Gainsborough residents will remember the historic school which was built in 1906 and was a infants and junior school until it was closed and converted to a business centre in the early 1990s. It has been empty for a number years.
Now, the listed building has been targeted by intruders and vandals and its future looks uncertain.
“It’s truly heart-breaking,” said chairman of Gainsborough’s South West Ward Residential Group Alan Frost. “The damage is absolutely disastrous. The outside may look fine but on the inside, nothing is safe.”
Alan said that he has heard from many local residents who share precious memories of the former school and are ‘devastated’ that it has fallen into such a state of disrepair.
“My daughter and my late son used to go to that school, which makes it especially upsetting for me to see it like this,” said Alan. “What makes it worse is that the people getting in there on these dark nights could seriously hurt themselves. My fear is that someone will get in there and have an accident or be killed and no one will know that they are in there.”
West Lindsey District Council chairman Jessie Milne agreed that it was a tragedy to see the Lincolnshire County Council-owned building in such a state.
“I think it’s really rather sad that such a beautiful building has been empty for so long but what really upsets me about Gainsborough is that we don’t take care of our heritage,” said Coun Milne. “We let things go to ruin and we are losing old Gainsborough. Our history is being destroyed and soon there will be nothing left.”
She continued: “I’d like to see more done to protect the little bit of our past that we still have left before we see it all raised to the ground.”
South West Ward councillor Trevor Young agreed that Lincolnshire County Council should be doing much more to protect the old school.
“It’s really shocking because this particular building is of great architectural and historical importance,” said Coun Young.
“The local authority have absolutely allowed it to be vandalised - even though it has been brought to their attention numerous times.”
He continued: “The extent of the damage and the fact that the future of the building is uncertain is a sad indictment and a poor reflection of Lincolnshire County Council.”
“Gainsborough’s council tax payers deserve better than this.”
Jim Hogg from Lincolnshire County Council’s property manager operations responded by saying: “There have been numerous incidents of vandalism at the old school.”
“Our contractors regularly return to re-secure the site, but it is difficult to keep people out.”
“Unfortunately, the building is in a conservation area, and we’ve not been allowed to demolish it.”
Jim added: “We have recently met with concerned residents and representatives from the town council who are campaigning to have the building taken down.”
“This would make the site more attractive to potential buyers.”