Parents say renovate it, don’t demolish it

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Parents and children reacting to the news last week that demolition of the current Ferney Lee school is the preferred option, have come together to begin a campaign for renovation instead.

Signatures were collected on a petition at the school gates, and children collected signatures of their classmates on Monday to show to the Cabinet meeting at Calderdale Council that there was a strong desire to keep the historic building for future generations of Todmorden children.

One of the parents, Catherine Bann, said: “We were thrilled to learn that investment in our school was being discussed, but horrified that demolition and new build was being mooted as the best idea. When I heard that one of the children had vowed to chain himself to the train tracks in protest, I realised that we as parents couldn’t stand by and do nothing.

“We hope to be working with the council and the school, not against, so hopefully it won’t come to train track protests!“

Renovation is the cheaper option, and the current school building is not unfit for purpose, the new group believed.

Catherine said: “The school is a beautiful, historic building in which education has obviously always been taken seriously, and we think our children deserve to study in a building like this. Two Nobel Prize Winners studied here, and I think it’s wonderful that the children have the opportunity to see both history in close-up, and a sense of their own future potential.”

Another parent, Lou Birks, said: “Walking through the doors into that building makes it feel like our children are as privileged as any in the country, and we don’t want to lose that.”

The parents have contacted Todmorden Civic Society about the issue, and want to make links with the wider community who may have their own memories of the historic building, and wish to see it preserved. They can be contacted at or 01706 815155.