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Final bid to save old Hinguar school fails
A FINAL effort to save Shoebury ’s old Hinguar School from demolition has failed.
English Heritage has turned down campaigners’ bid to win listed building status for the 126-year-old school, because the body ruled it wasn’t interesting enough from an architectural perspective.
Children left the old school, in Hinguar Street, at the end of last term and are now learning in a smart new school nearby on the Shoebury Garrison site.
Shoebury Independent councillors have been lobbying to save the building so it can be used by the community. English Heritage’s ruling means the building is now likely to be levelled and the site sold for homes, with the money going back into Southend Council’s education budget.
Independent councillor Mike Assenheim, who applied to English Heritage, said: “Although the facade of the main building is locally listed, legally, this does not stop a future developer demolishing it.
“Before I applied for heritage status, I requested the main school building be kept in council hands and be allowed to become an arts and community centre, as well as a local meeting place.
“Unfortunately, the council dismissed this idea out of hand. “Naturally, I am very disappointed with this decision by English Heritage and feel sure the people of Shoebury will be, too.”
English Heritage acknowledged the school was designed by noted architect James Brooks, but said the criteria for listing had not been met. It explained: “The facade of the school had been locally listed, reflecting its local interest, but was not of special architectural and historic interest from a national perspective, because the original buildings are not of exceptional design and random alterations have compromised the architectural integrity of the building.”
Shoebury Tory councillor, Roger Hadley welcomed the decision not to list the school, but said he too hoped the facade of the building could be preserved.
He said: “Revenue from the development of this land is needed to cover the cost of the new school and to pay for other school improvements in schools in the borough where there is very great pressure.
“What would we do with it if it had been listed? “There is no money to run it as a community centre. “Most councillors would be sympathetic to keeping the facade of the building though.”