PEOPLE living in a Herefordshire village are launching a legal battle as they try to save their old school

Garway villagers have reached out to building conservation charity SAVE Britain's Heritage to legally challenge Herefordshire Council's decision to bulldoze the former Victorian school.

A judicial review of the granting of permitted development rights to demolish the school in the village, between Hereford and Monmouth, by Herefordshire Council has been accepted in court.

The process will see a judge review the council's decision.


The buildings date from 1877, but Gerard Davies successfully applied for planning permission for a pair of semi-detached three-bedroom homes on the site, but that expired in 2016.

More recently, Herefordshire Council then separately approved an application to demolish the school, despite 89 objections.

Recommending approval, which was later given, Herefordshire Council planning officer Simon Withers said that while there was "local opposition", there was no basis to insist upon saving the school and clearing and levelling the site seemed to be "acceptable".

Local campaigner Malcolm Howard said Garway residents had hoped Herefordshire Council would rethink its decision when it was summonsed to appear in court, but that does not appear to have been the case.

"Despite pressure that has been put on Herefordshire Council, after being served a judicial summons, the council has chosen to defend its decision, appointed a barrister to represent them, thereby committing themselves, using taxpayers money, to any, or all of the resulting costs," he said.


Ben Oakley from SAVE Britain's Heritage has confirmed that the judicial review and court case will proceed.

Mr Oakley said: "Normally in a judicial review, the court looks at the evidence and sends out its decision. In this case, it has been decided that a full court appearance is necessary.

"This is very unusual and both sides need to appoint a barrister to present their case in November."

Herefordshire councillor Toni Fagan said: "I am very grateful to SAVE for challenging this decision.

"It can't be right that permitted development allows fabulous buildings like the Old School to be demolished when we should be protecting our heritage and minimising the impact of development on the environment – not squandering embodied carbon."