A 200-year-old former school house which is at risk of collapse could be bulldozed to make way for disabled parking bays for a nearby church’s less able parishioners, new plans have revealed.
If permission is given the Old School House will be demolished to create two disabled bays to serve the nearby St Francis of Sales Roman Catholic Church, in Wood Lane, Yoxall. It is under the parish of Barton under Needwood.
Father Arul Samy, of St Francis of Sales RC Church, has applied to East Staffordshire Borough Council for permission to demolish the empty building following a report by Walsall-based agent The Derek Evans Partnership, which states the building is in a "serious state of disrepair" and is already unsafe to use.
The building recently become inaccessible due to its rapid deterioration, leading to fears about safety to members of the public.
The nearby church and presbytery were built early in the 19th century and were awarded Grade II listed status in 1984. However, there is no mention of the Old School house being listed. It was built approximately 200 years ago.
A report by The Derek Evans Partnership said: "The Old School House has fallen into a state of disrepair; the cause of the building's deterioration is structural movement, which appears to be progressive.
"There is no use of the building at present and, due to its scale, it has limited use moving forward. The building is also in a state of disrepair and would be unsafe to use with major works.
“Following clearance of the existing structure the land will provide the opportunity for the church to have two accessible parking bays close to the entrance of the main church building.
"There is currently no provision on site for accessible parking. With the provision of the accessible parking bays, mobility of impaired groups will be improved as the distance to travel between where the car is parked and the church entrance is greatly reduced and the route much easier to navigate."
Structural engineers Broadway Associates also made a report of structural defects affecting the building.
The report said: "There is localised foundation movement which has contributed to severe cracking in the left hand gable. There is wide spread severe tilting and cracking of wall panels due to the proximity of the trees and ivy around the building.
"There is severe tilting of the external masonry walls at high level which is consistent with roof spread. The bearings of the timber floors joist at first floor level have eroded due to the tilting and local displacement of the rear wall.
"There is partial roof collapse at the rear of the Old School Building. Due to erosion, the suspended floors are at a limit of what be deemed safe."
The structural report was conducted three years ago and the results were given to English Heritage which has not objected to the plans.
English Heritage said the building was extremely unstable and the problems could only be solved by practically rebuilding it, but calculations suggest this would cost more than simply demolishing it.
It is unclear what the exact purpose of the building was. Conversations with the church suggest that it provided accommodation such as a carriage shelter, brewhouse or washhouse. It was later used as a storage facility.