LETTER: Old Cleckheaton school building should be preserved

Whitcliffe Mount School. (D513B402)
Whitcliffe Mount School. (D513B402)

The population of Cleckheaton are about to witness over the coming months the greatest act of municipal vandalism ever manifested on our locality.

The population of Cleckheaton are about to witness over the coming months the greatest act of municipal vandalism ever manifested on our locality.

I refer to the closure and demolition of the former Whitcliffe Mount Grammar School (WMGS).

This building is an outstanding example of when local representatives on the district council, namely John G Mowat, George Whitely, J Walter Wadsworth, Reginald M Grylls and Will H Clough, looked after the interests of the people they represented.

What an example they set against which the present day politicians, both local and national, should be judged.

The building was completed and occupied in 1910 with 95 pupils and became a grammar school in 1944 and a comprehensive in 1973.

It is probably one of the best examples of Gothic architecture to be found in Yorkshire and certainly within Kirklees.

It is worthy of being classified as a listed building by English Heritage which would save it from the demolition which we are destined to witness.

Unfortunately, English Heritage has refused to protect it due to the fire which destroyed the former assembly hall and gymnasium thereby making the fire an excuse to categorise it as an incomplete example.

How many examples of old buildings have been protected in a far worse 
state of preservation than 
WMGS?

This whole issue is deplorable as there is no measure of the cultural value of the old 
building and indeed the former sports centre which was closed down in spite of its popularity.

No doubt the only value considered is the value of the land to build executive homes.

In other locations across the country where such buildings have come to the end of their useful lives the façade of the building has been retained and a modern development built behind it.

It would not have taken a genius to do something similar here.

Perhaps a new sports centre could have been built behind it?

The next stage of this approach will no doubt be the closure and demolition of Spenborough Library!