The future of an historic Victorian building is more certain following a commitment from Stoke-on-Trent City Council to protect a former infants’ school in Penkhull.
The Penkhull Education Centre, in Princes Road, was built in 1896 and had previously being considered for demolition. A commitment has now been made to look at what other options are available for the building including community facilities, in addition to what car parking can be incorporated for neighbouring school, The Willows.
The appraisals undertaken by the council indicate that the annexe to the school, which has no historic significance, will be demolished to create 100 additional car parking spaces and a drop off point for The Willows on the site. It follows the expansion of The Willows to accommodate three form entry.
Discussions are ongoing with a local community group about long-term leasing of the Victorian building, which closed as a school more than a decade ago. Funding for the additional car parking will come from The Willow’s school capital programme.
Councillor Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and heritage, said: “I’m delighted to confirm that a building of such unique, architectural significance will not be demolished. While the option to demolish had been considered, it did not feel right to allow such a superb example of a late Victorian school building to be lost. We are confident that the building can be repurposed if all goes to plan now.
“The building is a wonderful example of Stoke-on-Trent’s rich Victorian heritage. It is great news that we are working through solutions to retain the building, bring it back into community use and create much needed extra parking facilities in the area.”
Councillor Randolph Conteh said: “We have been working hard to look at options and have listened too. The option we would like to agree means that we can address a number of ongoing interrelated issues while opening up the site more – this is just what is needed.”
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