Gutted former school must be restored

The Grade II-listed former Margaret Bevan School must be restored and refurbished following an arson attack which left the building roofless, says the West Derby Society (WDS). 

Intruders recently set fire to the Victorian mansion which led to firefighters tackling the blaze and successfully put out the flames. 

Stephen Guy, WDS chairman said: “I went into the building after the blaze and was saddened by the damage from fire, smoke and water. 

“The roof has gone but I understand a structural engineer’s initial finding is that the walls are sound.  

“The fire was a disaster waiting to happen. For years the site has been a magnet to local children and youths who clamber into the wooded grounds. 

“We contacted Hassett Homes, the property’s owners, several weeks ago about our concerns relating to the security of the site. 

“Although extensive security fencing has been put in front of the buildings, the back was open and vulnerable. 

“The historic building had been securely tinned up after previous attacks. However, intruders had still been forcing themselves into the building.” 

Liverpool-based Hassett Homes has submitted detailed plans to develop the Margaret Bevan site, part of West Derby Village Conservation Area. The plans involve refurbishing the historic building as apartments and building houses in the extensive grounds. 

Stephen added: “We will be opposing any plans to demolish the former school. 

“Even if demolition is ordered on safety grounds, we will be calling for a replica to be built incorporating some of the historic decorative features including the entrance porch and stone carvings.” 

West Derby, like many other places, has a long history of old buildings being torched in arson attacks. Parts of Kiln Hey/Alder Grange in Sandfield Park were gutted in an arson attack in 2007. 

The West Derby Society visited the site and advised developers on the rebuilding and refurbishment work. The successful work took several years, also financed by new properties in the grounds.  

Firefighters also returned to Margaret Bevan – originally called Eddesbury – to put out smouldering timbers after local residents alerted emergency services. 


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on March 7th, 2022

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