THE demolition of an historic school building dating back to the 1700s is back on the agenda.

Plans to knock down Birtenshaw Old Hall, in Bromley Cross, surfaced earlier this year, but were withdrawn to allow the charity which owns it to carry out a number of surveys requested by Bolton Council.

Since then, the coach house at the site was destroyed in an arson attack, making the demolition vital ‘to remove buildings that are becoming increasingly unsecure and dangerous’.

The required surveys have now been completed and the Birtenshaw charity has served notice that it intends to demolish the buildings, possibly as soon as December.

David Reid, CEO of Birtenshaw, said that a plan for a new school facility on the site is expected to be submitted to the council in the coming weeks, adding that the existing buildings are not fit for renovation.

The former Birtenshaw Hall School was first built as a private house and was occupied from 1740.

It was used as a school from 1955 but has been vacant since 2014, when an adjacent purpose-built school opened.

A statement sent to Bolton Council’s planning office said: “Whilst the imminent dangers presented by the fire at the coach house have now been dealt with, this outbuilding and indeed the rest of the site are in a dangerous state and vulnerable to further repeated acts of vandalism and theft.

“Consequently, the proposed demolition is vital and is needed to remove buildings that are becoming increasingly unsecure and dangerous due to them acting as a magnet for anti-social behaviour on the site. Despite the extra precautions that have been put in place to secure the site, Birtenshaw are concerned about their liability and the potential risks to anyone entering the site. This situation is further exacerbated by the position of the site, which is adjacent to its current school for children with special education needs and disabilities.

“While a new school proposal for the site is currently being developed by Birtenshaw, demolition is imperative to make the site safe by removing the current focus of theft and vandalism that has been occurring on the site, and save Birtenshaw significant charity funds expended on repeated works to monitor and secure the site.”