Protest over plans to demolish old college

Protestors outside the former college building in Newton.
Protestors outside the former college building in Newton.

A PROTEST has been launched against a house builder’s plans to demolish the old Newton College site.

St Helens College sold the iconic century-old building to Morris Homes to help fund the town centre redevelopment with a view to it being converted into 20 apartments.

But protesters, including Newton councillors David Banks, Seve Gomez-Aspron and Sandra Dyer, say the original plan has now been changed to one which will see the old college building demolished.

Coun Banks said: “It is disgusting that private developers have sneakily tried to erase some of our town’s history. We need to send them a message as a town that we are not happy with this.”

Newton College was built via public subscription at the turn of the 20th century on land donated by Lord Newton.

Coun Gomez-Aspron said: “Nobody had an issue with the building being converted into flats as the important façade was to be kept. However, to demolish the building is terrible to try to make more profit.

“I and the town won’t tolerate this. I urge objections be sent to the planning department at St Helens Town Hall. There’s 21 days to object.”

A spokesman for Morris Homes said: “After assessing the building’s suitability for conversion we’ve found that it would not be viable to develop it into apartments.

“The building is not protected, but we do understand that the front façade adds to the street scene and for this reason, our architects have gone to great lengths to produce a new elevation that not only reflects the former building, but also provides significant improvements.”