His­toric school and van­dal hit care home in CPO plan

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - NICK STATHAM

AN his­toric school and a van­dal­ismhit for­mer nurs­ing home in Mid­dle­ton will be snapped up un­der a new ini­tia­tive.

Rochdale coun­cil is us­ing pow­ers to take own­er­ship of empty and run­down prop­er­ties through the use of com­pul­sory pur­chase or­ders (CPOs).

Cab­i­net mem­bers are con­sid­er­ing ap­prov­ing three CPOs every month in a drive to bring more of the bor­ough’s run-down and ne­glected build­ings back into use.

First to be signed off by coun­cil chiefs this time round was the his­toric for­mer Durn­ford Street School in Mid­dle­ton, which dates back to 1908.

De­signed by renowned Man­cu­nian ar­chi­tect Edgar Wood, it was one of two pi­o­neer­ing bor­ough schools built to meet new hy­giene and teach­ing stan­dards of the day.

But the Ed­war­dian build­ing has long stood derelict and be­come a mag­net for crime and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

The cur­rent own­ers have mooted plans to bring it back into use - in­clud­ing as a wed­ding venue - but coun­cil chiefs say there has been no ev­i­dence of a re­gen­er­a­tion scheme com­ing for­ward.

It said: “The site’s dere­lic­tion is caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic nui­sance and im­pact on peo­ple who live nearby, and there ap­pears to be lit­tle prospect of the build­ings be­ing re­turned to ac­tive use.”

The his­tory of the build- ing is also said to pro­vide fur­ther jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the coun­cil to in­ter­vene and ‘pre­vent fur­ther dis­re­pair and di­lap­i­da­tion to a build­ing of ar­chi­tec­tural sig­nif­i­cance be­yond the lo­cal area’.

Deputy leader Sara Row­botham backed the CPO, but said it came with some sad­ness: “A lot of peo­ple in the com­mu­nity have a big af­fec­tion for this build­ing, be­cause it’s been there for such a long time.

“The coun­cil has made ab­so­lutely every ef­fort to en­gage with the prop­erty owner to keep it to main­tain it, to pro­tect it.

“It’s such a shame it’s got to this point, but through no fault of the coun­cil,” she said.

Chiefs also gave the goa­head for the coun­cil to pur­chase an­other Mid­dle­ton eye­sore - the for­mer Sax­on­side Re­source Cen­tre, in Win­der­mere Road, Lan­g­ley.

The cen­tre was owned by three doc­tors who op­er­ate a nearby GP surgery, but plans to con­vert it into a health cen­tre fell through amid a le­gal wran­gle be­tween the part­ners.

The build­ing is cur­rently boarded up, di­lap­i­dated and, like Durn­ford Street School, at­tracts high lev­els of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

Coun­cil bosses say that ne­go­ti­a­tions with the part­ners have led ‘ ab­so­lutely nowhere’.

West Mid­dle­ton ward coun­cil­lor Neil Em­mott said he was ‘de­lighted’ the coun­cil was tak­ing ac­tion over the ‘eye­sore’.

He said: “I was last there about a year ago as part of a Mid­dle­ton in Bloom clean-up and I al­most vom­ited at some of the stuff we came across there, it was ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful.

“There was bro­ken glass in the ground, sharp rust­ing bits of metal. It’s very dan­ger­ous, kids play in that and the po­ten­tial for a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent to take place is re­ally high.

“It’s an­other ab­so­lute blight on the land­scape, let’s get it bought and get some­thing on there that’s de­cent.”

Durn­ford Street School, Mid­dle­ton, and, in­set, the for­mer Sax­on­side nurs­ing home Google Maps

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