Campaigners fight to preserve Heanor college site for the community

Pictured are campaigners from the Heanor Grammar School Action Group who are fighting to preserve the former school site for community use.
Pictured are campaigners from the Heanor Grammar School Action Group who are fighting to preserve the former school site for community use.

Campaigners fighting to preserve the former Heanor Grammar School site for community use have offered to buy the site from its current owners for just £1.

Derby College, which owns the former South East Derbyshire College site in Mundy Street, put the site up for sale after the college dropped plans to turn the derelict building into a £4.5million digital studio college.

However, Heanor Grammar School Action Group has submitted an application to grant the site Asset of Community Value status with a £1 statement of interest bid to preserve the Grade 2 listed building.

Group spokesman Leonie George said: “We believe the site is an ACV and wish to see it retained for community benefit. We understood the site would be maintained for education and would remain of value to the community.”

Derby College stated it had been unable to secure enough students to make the studio college financially viable. It argued Heanor students do benefit from an Ilkeston campus and Morley’s Broomfield Hall.

College chief executive Mandie Stravino said: “Derby College has exhausted options for investing the extensive funds required to create and maintain a viable educational use for the site.

“We have always been extremely open and transparent about our desire to find a buyer who would bring the site back to life and provide a catalyst for the regeneration of the town centre.”

The campaigners who feel there are opportunities to utilise the site for education, recreation or leisure through a third party are also calling for a public consultation.

Derby College chief executive Mandie Stravino stated the college will be taking Heanor Grammar School Action group’s proposals seriously.

She said: “Members of the newly-formed group have been treated in the same way as the other bidders with in-depth discussions and site visits organised. We are also aware that an application for the site to be awarded Asset of Community Value status has been made to Amber Valley Borough Council by St Lawrence Parish Church Parochial Church Council. We will of course take the group’s proposals for further consultation seriously and are in the process of setting up a meeting to further discuss the matter.”