Final decision looms on Half-Time School Developers want to demolish what remains of iconic building
Planners could toll the final bell for the iconic HalfTime School.
Councillors inspected the historic building’s ruins and will now have to decide whether any of it can be saved.
Experts have warned the campus is beyond repair and has been ravaged by fire and neglect.
Councillor Eileen McCartin was among those who visited the landmark’s remains before ruling whether it should be bulldozed for flats.
She said: “When I moved to Paisley 40 years ago, this building stood in all its splendour to be admired by locals and visitors.
“Years of mismanagement, fires, and the horrendous planning laws we have in this country have allowed this once magnificent building to fall into a ruin which now can’t be saved.
“I want to ensure that, if this application is passed, as much as possible of the building’s identifiable features must remain.
“People who move into any new flats built here need to know that they are living in a heritage site which was part of Paisley’s history.”
The Paisley Southwest councillor is a member of Old Paisley Society dedicated to preserving the town’s rich past.
She insists little effort has been made to preserve the building’s iconic facade and stonework.
The Liberal Democrat brought along a photograph of the B-listed building, which shows the school as it once stood.
RH Contracts wants to build 40 flats on the site and has applied to clear the ground.
Councillors will be given the final decision on whether any of the remaining structure should be used in any design or whether the land should be cleared.
Planning chiefs have warned razing the centre may be the only option after the school was gutted by fire and damaged by high winds two decades ago.
They say bulldozers may have to move in as only wall sections are now left standing.
Fraser Carlin, head of planning and housing for Renfrewshire Council, previously admitted the site is “not capable” of “viable reuse” in a report.
He said: “The removal of the remains of the Half-Time School would present the opportunity for the redevelopment of a site occupied by a derelict building.
“The limited remaining exterior walls are supported by temporary propping and all are substantially affected by prolonged vandalism and coated with spray paint and graffiti.”
Mr Carlin says attempts to save the site in the past have “failed to materialise” over a “protracted period of time” and with successive owners.
RH Contracts wants to build a single U-shaped, four-storey block on the plot.
The Half-Time School was designed by Woodhouse and Morley and built by J&P Coats in 1887 near its mills.
Its classes were filled by 400 young girls, all working for the textile giant.
They would attend lessons on alternate days, giving the centre its name.
It was taken into public control after law changes made school compulsory for all children in 1904.
The building then had various uses, including as a mill dining hall and fire station.
Ciba-Geigy bought the building and turned it into its social club, before it became the Cotton Club in the 1980s – a favourite haunt for footballers and celebrities.
It suffered damage during a serious fire, but was brought back into use as the Institute nightclub before the blaze that caused its closure.
Site visit Councillors inspected the historic site