A national charity has called for urgent action to stop one of Bradford’s most historic school buildings falling into disrepair.

Heritage group The Victorian Society says time is running out for Wapping Road First School – the site of England’s first school swimming pool.

In July, the Telegraph & Argus told how the building had been left to rot following a planning wrangle between its owners and Bradford Council. Mark Barnes, an assistant manager in Bradford Council's refuse department, photographed the school after being shocked by its plight.

The school was closed in 2000 and sold to development company Sphinx Commercial Ltd in 2006. An outline planning application for turning the Grade II listed building into apartments was submitted in 2004, before it was sold, but that has yet to be turned into reality.

Following calls from T&A readers to save the site, Richard Tinker, of The Victorian Society’s West Yorkshire Group, said: “Time is running out for the Wapping Road First School.

“Unless work starts on the building soon, it’s hard to see how it will survive. A physical record of the development of the modern education system, the building should be a great source of local and national pride. Instead it is being allowed to crumble away.

“Historic schools are durable and versatile buildings that lend themselves to a variety of uses. They can make very desirable living accommodation.

“We urge the owner to work with Bradford Council to draw up a scheme that will keep this valuable part of Yorkshire’s heritage in use and at the heart of its community for many years to come.”

After eight years in limbo, the building has suffered extensive vandalism.

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “In October 2004 the buyers signed an agreement with the Council whereby they became responsible for all security matters relating to the site.

“It is unfortunate that the new owners’ development proposals have not yet come to fruition.”

A spokesman for Sphinx Commercial Ltd said: “We are still in discussions in the Council regarding planning. It is now with our solicitors as there is a technicality which we have not agreed on.

We have no idea when work will begin.”

However, the Council denied it was still in talks with Sphinx. Its spokesman said: “We are not in any discussions with them – the building is their responsibility.”