THE imposing gothic walls of St Andrew’s School have been razed to the ground as demolition went ahead this week to make way for houses.

Matthew Saunders, secretary of the Ancient Monuments Society said it was a ‘sad day’ that the Grade II building, in Listerhills, became just a memory.

“It is a waste. It is unrepeatable. Built as part of a church in 1887 in the gothic style, no one is going to build such a florid building again with such a sense of fun and enormous amount of exuberance. It was truly beautiful and remarkable but now it’s gone.

“It is also rare for a listed building to be knocked down these days.”

Mr Saunders said he believed it could have been preserved if the right people had come forward.

“It would have taken imagination and depended on grant aid and the state of the market. Other magnificent, threatened buildings in Bradford were saved such as Eastbrook Hall and the wool exchange.

“I know Bradford well, though it is a while since I have visited, and there are exquisite examples of fine architecture. Little Germany is an example of how an area can be preserved and enhanced.

“It is a pity such an ending could not have been found for St Andrew’s School.”

The building was last used as a council-owned interfaith education centre but was left empty after suffering extensive fire damage in 2009.

Two years later the building was sold at auction to Guiseley-based Tim Horton Ltd, rather than the Council using insurance monies to make repairs, as expected.

The application also explained the applicant who purchased the property did not fully appreciate the scale of the challenge they were taking on.

Permission by the council to demolish the building was given last year after its owner presented estimates showing it would cost more than £1.5 million to repair and stating the cost would be far more than the premises would be worth once finished.

Planning approval was also given for up to eight homes to be built in the site.

But Mr Saunders even argued this point.

“There was land behind the building that could have been built on and once repaired the building could have gone on to have a variety of uses.

“Fortunately the loss of such history is rare with applications for such action totalling only around 10 per year. In the 1970s these ran into the hundreds.

“I’m sad that another little bit of history has gone; something picturesque showing magnificent craftwork that is never going to be reflected in today’s rather bland building designs.

Richard Tinker, caseworker for the Victorian Society for Leeds and Bradford described the building’s loss a ‘chipping away at the city as people will know it2.

Not everyone had been against its demolition.

Alan Hall, chairman of Bradford Civic Society said he and his wife had discussed the sad state of the building after the fire and both agreed it should be pulled down.

“It wasn’t a marvellous building even when it was in use, he said.”