Church to sell site for housing development

Firefighters at the former Our Lady and Pope John School in Corby
Firefighters at the former Our Lady and Pope John School in Corby
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A Corby school which has been standing empty for more than a year is to be demolished and the site sold to property developers.

Fire broke out a week ago at Our Lady and Pope John School, in Tower Hill Road, in a blaze believed to have been started by vandals.

Assessors visited the school on Tuesday to find out the extent of the damage.

The site and buildings are owned by the Catholic Diocese of Northampton.

Hugh Davies, its director of finance, said: “Plans are being drawn up for social and sheltered housing for the site.

“We have been in negotiations with the borough council for some time to establish what the housing needs in Corby are.

“We expect a planning application to be submitted to the council within the next month and, if the plans are approved, the buildings will be demolished and the site will be sold.”

Mr Davies said the extent of the damage caused by last Thursday’s fire was not yet known but that it is believed the blaze was started deliberately.

He said: “Assessors have been at the site this week but the whole lot will be coming down.”

Six crews from Northamptonshire and Leicestershire attended the fire which is being investigated by police.

Residents in the area were advised to keep their doors and windows closed because of the risk of toxic fumes.

No-one was injured in the blaze and Mr Davies praised the actions of the fire service.

He said: “Crews were at the scene for some time and we were very impressed by how the incident was dealt with.”

In May flames ripped through the nearby old Kingswood School, Corby, after an arson attack.

The county council is to demolish the school, outbuildings and a site supervisor’s bungalow and plans to sell the site.

Residents living near both the disused schools have voiced fears over the sites following the fires. One woman, who lives in Norway Close, Corby, but asked not to be named said: “After this second fire at Pope John School people are very worried. We want to see those buildings knocked down.”

Police are appealing for witnesses after the latest fire and they can be contacted on 101.