Historic school and vandal hit care home in CPO plan
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