THE threat of demolition is hanging over a former Victorian school in Herefordshire once again after a failure to list the building.

Garway's old school is one of the last remaining heritage buildings in the village, viewed by locals as an essential part of the history and fabric of Garway.

Herefordshire planners managed to avert demolition in 2021, but attempts to list the building with Historic England, and as an asset of community value, have failed and determination of a new application for demolition is imminent.

The plans, available to view on Herefordshire Council's website, state that the applicant wants to demolish the building, leaving a concrete hardstanding on the site.

The site will be left as a concreted yard, with no further development planned, according to the application form.

Residents have objected en-masse to the resubmission of proposals to demolish the school, built in 1877, under permitted development rights.

Villager Malcolm Howard said: "The building is in good structural condition but in poor state of repair. It is a good example of a 19th century schoolhouse which could be turned into attractive dwellings, such as found elsewhere as in Madley and just outside Skenfrith.

"It could become a valuable asset to the history and character and life of Garway, sited as it is in the centre of the village opposite the new community centre."


Herefordshire councillor Toni Fagan said Historic England refused to list the building because it no longer had its original doors and windows, despite its significance in the history of education in Garway and the surrounding area into Wales and as a physical manifestation of the 1870 Education Act.

Residents trying to protect the old school from demolition are also concerned about the embodied carbon that will be lost with the demolition of the building.

"The UK stated aim of zero carbon emissions by 2050 means we should stop pulling down old buildings, which releases carbon. We should restore and renovate and keep the carbon locked up.

"We have to minimise the use of steel, concrete and brick which use huge amounts of energy produce; these materials can increase our national carbon footprint by 45 per cent," said Mr Howard.

Evidence of bats inhabiting the building is another concern cited by locals who fear that through permitted development there will be no ecological survey.

Coun Fagan said: "The planning legislation around this is infuriating. Herefordshire has become such a coveted place to live since Covid and this is such a stunning Victorian building which is so intrinsic to Garway’s heritage, and is much loved by the community. Wanting to demolish it under permitted development is an unfathomable waste of heritage, resources and carbon emissions.

"It is clear from resident’s objections, currently 83 and numerous more last weekend, that this is a building of enormous value to the community of Garway.

"I would appeal to the applicant to reconsider his options and retest the market for a buyer who can save Garway Old School. This is a site which has had previous planning permission and is completely open for sympathetic development. It could easily be a win-win situation for all involved."