THE battle to save a historic Victorian school in a Herefordshire village from imminent demolition is set to end in the Court of Appeal in London tomorrow.

The appeal, which makes the claim that demolition was approved in 2022 without correct process, will be decided at a public hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand on Thursday, May 25.

All are welcome to attend the hearing, which will start at 10.30am.

A spokesperson for campaign group SAVE Britain's Heritage said the hearing follows a sustained legal battle fought alongside the local community in Garway since 2020.

The legal battle comes after a sustained campaign against the decision by Herefordshire Council in April 2022 to allow the demolition of the 1877 school building in the village of Garway under a planning loophole called permitted development rights.

At a previous hearing in November, the group said it argued that the council had failed to properly assess whether the school was unsafe or uninhabitable, a key test when deciding whether to permit applications under PDR.


In order for the demolition of a building to be allowed under PDR - a planning mechanism which bypasses the need for full planning permission - a building must not have been rendered unsafe or uninhabitable as a result of the owner's own neglect.

"If successful, we hope to set a legal precedent that could help save thousands of other unprotected historic buildings across the country," the spokesperson said.

"A key issue throughout the campaign has been whether permitted development rights to demolish a building apply whether the building has been rendered uninhabitable by the action or inaction of a landowner.

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"In this case, the historic school buildings have been neglected by the owner, who has failed to undertake any maintenance since 1992 but now claims the buildings can be demolished in the interests of public safety under permitted development legislation."

The campaigners will be will be represented in the Court of Appeal by planning barrister Richard Harwood KC and solicitor Susan Ring of Harrison Grant Ring.

"As with all of SAVE's work, the ultimate aim of our campaign is to see this historic building sustainably reused and Garway's history and character preserved, while also providing attractive and much-needed new housing in the village," the spokesperson said.