Doubts over future of Letchworth Grammar School

THE future use of a historic building in the centre of a town is in doubt after it was confirmed that it will be put up for sale next year.

The former Letchworth Grammar School building in Broadway, used sporadically since the school shut in 1974 to be replaced by comprehensive Fearnhill School in Icknield Way, could be sold “in the next year”, a Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) spokesman said. The long-term use of the building is still unclear after a plan by North Hertfordshire District Council to move its offices from Gernon Road to the site fell through.

Now it has been mooted that the building, currently owned by HCC, could be turned into private retirement homes by McCarthy and Stone, although a planning application has not yet been submitted.

“If it is sold to McCarthy and Stone I think that would be a good use of the building,” said county councillor Michael Muir, who represents Letchworth East and Baldock.

“I would like to see the building kept – normally McCarthy and Stone’s buildings are much of a muchness, but I’d like to see it converted. It’s an important piece of history in Letchworth.”

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The Comet asked the company, which has built retirement homes in the centre of Stevenage and Hitchin, to comment, but there was no response at the time of going to press.

Cllr Gary Grindal, who represents the Letchworth Wilbury ward for North Hertfordshire District Council, added: “The county council cannot let it drag on much longer as the building will fall into disrepair. Whoever takes it on must be sympathetic to the area, the residents who live there, and maintain the historic frontage.”

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The old Letchworth Grammar School backs on to entertainment venue Plinston, which will stop hosting live events in January 2012, ahead of a planned refurbishment by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation.

Last week the charitable organisation outlined its vision for the venue to “provide a focus for arts and cultural activities”, with some groups concerned that a stage will not be kept following the renovation.

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