School to be pulled down after 4 years

A FORMER school plagued by vandalism and arson is set to be demolished after lying empty for four years.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th September 2011, 6:36 pm

The old Oaklands Special School building will be demolished as soon as utilities are disconnected, and it is hoped this will take place before the end of the year.

Council bosses had originally hoped to sell the Broomhouse Crescent site along with the building, however they have been unable to find a buyer due to the current economic crisis.

They have now decided to demolish the building and sell the land on its own.

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The move has been welcomed as residents have been concerned about the level of vandalism for some time.

John Kilkenny, Conservative candidate for the Sighthill/Gorgie ward in next year’s council elections, said: “The school has been dilapidated for a number of years. The windows are smashed, there’s graffiti and kids go up on the roof and set things on fire.

“Residents say it has been a really big problem for a number of years and the problems are ongoing.

“This action can’t come soon enough.”

A number of disused schools in Edinburgh have been targeted by vandals and arsonists, sparking calls for them to be demolished as soon as possible if the council has no use for them and cannot sell them.

One of the biggest incidents took place last July when a massive blaze was started at the former Craigroyston Community High School on Pennywell Road.

The building was engulfed in 30ft flames and a 14-year-old boy was subsequently charged in connection with the incident.A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: “Disused and derelict buildings can often be the focus for anti-social behaviour and fire setting.

“Sadly there have been many instances where we have been called to deliberately set fires in these type of premises.

“Not only is there a risk to those illegally accessing such buildings but there is a risk to firefighters called to attend at and tackle deliberate fires.

“There may be structural concerns about the building, floors missing and there is a real risk that someone who has set a fire may become trapped within the building which is always a consideration when crews are mobilised to such incidents.”

A spokesman for the city council said: “We plan to demolish the building soon after public utility supplies are cut off at the end of the year but we are relying on utility providers doing this.

“More recently closed buildings have been demolished almost immediately so we can sell a cleared site.”