'Let it go' says resident living opposite former Batley school

'Let it go' says resident living opposite former Batley school

A RESIDENT living opposite the former St Mary’s Infant School and neighbouring convent in Batley earmarked for demolition says campaigners need to ‘let it go’.

Describing the two buildings as an eyesore, Tony Sturdy believes the area next to St Mary’s RC Church would be much better without them.

Mr Sturdy claimed police have visited the site over 30 times in the past five years, most recently on Saturday night when the convent was broken into.

The site is up for sale with property firm Sanderson Weatherall, with plans on the Kirklees Council website suggesting the buildings will be knocked down to make way for 14 homes.

Mr Sturdy, a caretaker at the adjacent St Mary’s Primary School, said: “The plan as it is is lovely. Nobody’s come forward with anything practical or suitable for the place before. It wants something doing with it now.

“It’s alright hanging on to nostalgia and saying it’s lovely, but we’ve got to let go of things and move on. Societies and neighbourhoods, they change from what they were.

“There’s so many undesirables about, we can’t do a lot about them but we can get shut of an area where they’re thriving.

“None of the campaigners live near here, they’re not affected by it. It’s falling down from the inside, it’s derelict, it’s an eyesore and it’s open to all sorts of people.

“These plans will lift the area. A little bit of light and life breathed into it might alleviate a lot of the problems.”

The former school hasn’t been used since 2001, while the convent was last active around six years ago.

Last week parish priest Fr Eamonn Hegarty said it was “a shame” to see the buildings go, but that the sale of the site will help with much-needed funds for St Mary’s Church.

Mr Sturdy added: “It’d be a lot safer place for Father Eamonn – we owe it to him to make it safer.”

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