A HISTORIC school saved from demolition in Herefordshire could soon be protected by being listed.

Swift action from charity SAVE Britain's Heritage after an SOS from concerned residents of Garway successfully helped block plans to demolish the village’s charming Victorian schoolhouse.

Their letter to Herefordshire Council in June 2021 challenged the legitimacy of the building owner’s application to bulldoze the school under permitted development rights, citing a lack of sufficient information and adequate public consultation.

SAVE also questioned why the school could not be retained and converted, given that the owner was granted planning permission to convert the school into two dwellings in 2016 but did not carry out the plans. In their application to demolish the building just five years later, they simply cite that it is “no longer needed.”

The council later determined that the owner cannot demolish the building without prior approval from the Council.


Built in 1877, Garway Old School served as the village primary school for over a century, and despite closing in 1980, remains in the memory of many residents who attended the school in their youth. The old school was lived in as a house until 2013 but has been left empty and rotting ever since.

It is one of only a few surviving historic buildings in Garway and is an important village landmark. This is not the first time that residents have fought to save their heritage, following a successful campaign in 2020 to save Garway’s 1920s village hall.

Ben Oakley, conservation officer for SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: “We welcome Herefordshire Council’s decision to dismiss these unjustified demolition plans, and strongly support their efforts to protect the building through listing. The swift response and strong local campaign mounted against demolition speaks to the extent to which people care about their heritage.”

Herefordshire councillor Toni Fagan said: “Garway villagers are up in arms over an application to demolish the old Victorian school in the centre of the village. It is a lovely example of a Victorian schoolhouse and an essential part of the history and fabric of Garway village which can never be replaced.”

Herefordshire Council have now submitted a listing application to Historic England, which SAVE has written in support of. In their application, the council say that the building is worthy of listing for its historic, aesthetic, and communal value: “The Old School represents an important community symbol to the residents of Garway, is an important survival of a rare building type in rural Herefordshire, and is a good example, mostly intact, of a building designed by a locally born architect”.