Fears disused Stansted school is in dangerous state

School Stansted issue

School Stansted issue - Credit: Archant

A frustrated village resident says an old school building that has been left to become derelict since 2012 is both an eyesore and a danger to the community as it continues to be the target of vandalism and arson attempts.

And Daniel Brett, from Spencer Close in Stansted, says he believes the former St Mary’s School building in St John’s Road may well be the scene of a serious accident one day as the Diocese of Chelmsford, which currently owns it, is showing no interest in solving the problem.

“This is just a failure to value the community,” said Mr Brett.

“I don’t know what the police can do unless they get a direct complaint from the Diocese, and I don’t think the Diocese care. They’re not interested. All they want to do is to sell off the building at a premium rate.

“I think the county council is doing its best. I know they want it resolved because they want to get a safe new school up there.”

Mr Brett says that CCTV was installed in the building some time ago, but it has not acted as an effective deterrent, and any warning signs posted around the site are simply taken down or ignored.

“CCTV never works, as it’s passive,” he said.

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“The bottom line is it’s a danger and the council just want to get possession of it now. In general, the Diocese has abandoned it.

“What’s most worrying is if there’s a successful attempt to burn down the building and there’s asbestos in there.

“Plus, the teenagers who break in; I don’t want them to get injured.”

Mr Brett’s son once attended St Mary’s School, and he says he feels it is a shame the site has been left in this state.

“There is glass everywhere and stuff that was in the school before it closed is just all over the playground.

“It’s not only an eyesore, it’s absolutely a danger to the community.”

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford says that it is taking the situation seriously, and that it has taken action to stop people entering the site.

They said: “The site is boarded up and warning notices not to enter are in place. We have responded to residents who have been in touch. Anyone who witnesses vandalism should report it to the police.

“We are currently reviewing options for the future development of the site for educational or housing use, having retained the site at the request of Essex County Council.”

An Essex County Council spokesperson has confirmed that they are in discussion with the Diocese.

Mr Brett says that he has been in touch with Uttlesford District Council to report his concerns regarding the safety of the structure. When contacted this week, a spokesman for UDC said: “A building surveyor has recently inspected the property, and at the time of the inspection considered the level of security and safety to be appropriate.”