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Derelict school demolition only solution to Derry vandalism, says councillor

 

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Ebrington Primary School

Ebrington Primary School

The results of a previous attack by vandals

The results of a previous attack by vandals

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Ebrington Primary School

A derelict school should now be demolished after it was hit by a number of arson attacks and other acts of vandalism, a councillor has urged.

Derry City and Strabane DUP councillor David Ramsey said the Education Authority (EA) had a duty to protect the site of the old Ebrington Primary School at Ulsterville Avenue from further damage.

The Fire Service has dealt with at least three fires in recent weeks at the building, which has also been subject to much vandalism.

Mr Ramsey said that while the site could be transferred to the council, it was still the responsibility of the EA. He added: "I have asked the EA to demolish this school building because I believe this will stop the ongoing arson attacks and vandalism.

"This has been the case elsewhere in the city where former school buildings were a draw for antisocial behaviour but which was stopped once the building was demolished.

"This site will likely be transferred to council so I am concerned the EA will drag its heels over this until that happens, but that is not acceptable."

Plans to develop the 1.26 hectares of land are at an advanced stage and include community facilities and a £5m project to deliver a mix of housing.

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Mr Ramsey said: "There has been consultation with local people over the past two years about what to do with the site once the school was relocated to the Limavady Road.

"These are exciting plans for the community and will involve the local cricket and football teams.

"This is a significant site and when this development is completed there will be great benefits to the local community, but that obviously will be some time away, so in the meantime something must be done to stop to deter antisocial behaviour and these arson attacks.

"The best way to do that is for the EA to demolish the entire building or at the very least take the roof off."

The Education Authority said: "The EA intends to dispose of the site in line with Land and Property Service guidance as it is surplus to requirement.

"Both Derry City and Strabane Council and a housing association have expressed interest in portions of the site and the authority continues to work with both parties regarding a potential sale. At this stage a sale or sales is achievable in the 2019/20 financial year."


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